Ever pay attention to how many Heisman Trophy winners are in commercials these days? They are EVERYWHERE. Robert Griffin III is in Subway, USAA, Adidas, and Gatorade ads. Johnny Manziel is featured in Subway, Snickers, McDonald’s, and Nike commercials. Cam Newton has his hands in Gatorade, Under Armour, and a chic new fragrance known as Drakkar Essence.
It’s understandable that an athlete wants to sign endorsement deals and make some money on the side — especially rookies coming into the NFL with significantly smaller contracts compared with longstanding superstars.
But what about a player like Marcus Mariota? Known for his modesty, hard work, and wholesome nature, he doesn’t seem like the type to market himself for an ad campaign. Well, it’s inevitable right? Every superstar has endorsement deals, especially Heisman Trophy winners.
Just a couple days ago Mariota’s first “advertisement” made headlines. It’s not exactly an endorsement per se, but mahalomarcus.com chronicles all of Mariota’s accomplishments from the day he started playing at Oregon to when he walked out of the Best Buy Theater in New York City with the most coveted trophy in college sports.
Mariota has something that most other players in his position don’t have. Humility. He could be the perfect face of a brand that wants to promote good values, unlike a lot of other football players out there right now. The very things that make him likeable and believable are also the things that may keep him from associating with brands who want to capitalize on these qualities. But there will be pressure.
In an interview with the Portland Business Journal, former “40 under 40 award winner”, Brian Berger, was asked about the best way for UO to take advantage of the exposure from the Heisman win. He said, “ If I were the University of Oregon, I would continue to capitalize on Mariota’s Heisman win. Whether that is through merchandising (especially in the next month around Oregon’s College Football Playoff appearance), letters to donors or highlighting this achievement to football recruits and potential students, taking advantage of this prestigious honor is a must.”
Mariota has a unique opportunity for endorsements because of his almost uncharacteristic attitude towards football and publicity. Whether or not he chooses to take that opportunity is another story. We shall see. In the course of his career at Oregon, he has let his work on the field do the talking. The numbers speak for themselves, but we are eager to see if he adds to the conversation. Whatever Marcus decides, one thing is sure — virtually everyone speaks highly of him.
Top Photo Kevin Cline