SBD/Issue 89/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Carmelo Anthony Faces Obstacles In Marketing Rebound

Nuggets F Carmelo Anthony is profiled by ESPN THE MAGAZINE’s Tom Farrey, who notes Anthony’s appearance in “Stop Snitching,” an underground DVD released in ’04 that “discourages cooperation with the police, specifically by drug dealers.” Anthony appears in “a few scenes, mostly in the background ... and never advocates drug dealing or use, much less violence.” However, his appearance at all “was damning enough.” His agent “left messages pleading with [Anthony] for help in controlling the damage,” and “potential endorsement deals were yanked.” But during that time his signature Jordan Brand shoe and No. 15 Nuggets jersey “hit No. 1 in sales among active players.” Anthony said, “I probably lost a couple endorsement deals with Fortune 500 companies, but I actually gained fans.” Rodney Bethea, who produced “Stop Snitching,” said, “The DVD gave ‘Melo street cred on a national level. People in other hoods saw it and said, ‘He understands. He’s like us’” (ESPN THE MAGAZINE, 1/30 issue). Bethea said that he is not going to use footage of Anthony in “Stop Snitching II,” set to be released this month, because he “doesn’t want to cause [Anthony] any more trouble” (ESPN.com, 1/18).

DOING GOOD WORK: Farrey reports Anthony recently filmed a guest appearance on Nickelodeon’s “Ned’s Declassified School Survival Guide” and has signed a letter of intent to participate in a joint effort with Spider-Man creator Stan Lee. Anthony has also written a children’s book titled “It’s Just the Beginning,” pledged $100,000 for Hurricane Katrina victims, raised money for Denver-area family services, donated meals in Baltimore, his hometown, and bought a van for a wheelchair-bound teenager. He also has financed “Prison Ball,” a documentary he narrates that “profiles some imprisoned ballers and explores the forces that drive dysfunction in urban neighborhoods.” The movie also “questions the wisdom of giving hard time to two-bit [drug] dealers.” He hopes to premiere the film during NBA All-Star weekend. Anthony said, “I’ve touched a lot of people. But all anyone sees is headlines: ‘Melo is a gangster, ‘Melo is a thug. No, ‘Melo is a good person. I got a mission” (ESPN THE MAGAZINE, 1/30). Anthony has said he “wants to be a leading voice of urban America.” Univ. of Southern California professor Todd Boyd said that that makes him think of Michael Jordan, “who went a different direction and became a voice of corporate America.” Boyd: “If ‘Melo’s successful on court, if his team is successful, people will embrace him. The street will embrace him. Madison Avenue will embrace him. The suburbs embrace him. It all really depends on how ‘Melo plays” (ESPN.com, 1/18).

QUALITY CONTROL: Anthony said that for his “B More” Nike ad, which was shot in Baltimore and “follows him as he walks late at night along a stretch of abandoned rowhouses,” Nike “originally proposed a concept that had him buying cars and playing video games.” He rejected the first version, “feeling it was too much bling, too little substance,” and wanted to “keep it real.” Anthony: “I worked for two days on the script. It was hard boiling my life down to 30 seconds” (ESPN THE MAGAZINE, 1/30 issue).

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