Effects of Sports Stars in Advertising

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Given the increasing popularity of sports in all of the world, sport has become a very dominate theme in advertising. Sports stars are seen as idols and almost like super heroes to young kids in the American society. Many brand owners corporate with sports stars to promote the sales of almost any kind of products, even if they have no apparent relationship with sports. “In the beginning, no one was giving us a chance,” said Rich Paul, a childhood friend of the NBA’s biggest star, LeBron James, “but it’s a new day. Sports marketing in 2006 is different, athletes are different and the way people perceive athletes is different” (Thomaselli) The theme of passion and vitality is essentially attractive to youth, who is impressed by famous good-looking sports stars. Thus it is a sensible choice for advertisers to use sports personality in today’s markets. Yao Ming, a household name in both China and America, is a good example to reflect the phenomenon. The magazine Campaign(UK) in March, 2006 reported that Yao has features in the advertising campaign of several companies and brands including Gatorade, McDonald's Corp., Reebok, Tag Heuer, Apple, China Unicom, Sohu, Garmin and Upperdeck (Nick). In some ways he is one of the leading figures in sports marketing in China, where exists a expandable market supported by 1.3 billion potential consumers. Obviously the direct beneficiaries of these advertising activities are the owners of sports brands. Adidas, for instance, always signs with stars of NBA, soccer and NFL to get higher reputation. The Adweek, a weekly American advertising trade publication, described a spot of Adidas last summer season: The best spot from last month did however tap into the soccer fever that swept the globe, an Adidas spot called "Partido." Filmed in a Spanish-speaking country; the commercial, directed by Ivan Zacharias, celebrates the love of the sport through the imaginative eyes of a young boy playing on an urban field. Soccer stars like David...
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