SBD/August 2, 2012/Olympics

Best Of Both Worlds: Ryan Lochte's Appeal Connects With Both Kids, Moms

Marketing execs say Lochte's skills and looks appeal to various demographics
U.S. swimmer Ryan Lochte will attempt to win his third Gold Medal in London tonight in the 200-meter backstroke, and to some he is a "stud swimmer ... but to others he's simply a stud,” and Madison Avenue “has noticed,” according to Pat Forde of YAHOO SPORTS. Lochte is “not hurting for endorsements, including heavy-rotation TV commercials during the Olympics for AT&T and Gillette.” They both feature “plenty of close-ups of Lochte, plus footage of him in his swim suit.” N.Y.-based public relations firm KMSPR CEO Kathleen Schmidt said that Lochte “brings an enticing combination of qualities to Main Street USA.” Schmidt said, "He's cool enough for kids and hot enough for their moms. ... Any brands that lock in with him will have an advantage because of his sex appeal -- but also his non-punk status." Forde notes fans should not “be surprised if female viewership of the Olympics spikes” during tonight's race, because with Lochte “earning that much airtime, admiring eyeballs will follow.” However, despite all that Lochte “brings to the table, he might not even be the most marketable American swimmer not named” Michael Phelps. That could be “17-year-old sensation Missy Franklin, who is the picture of wholesomeness to offset the Lochte sexiness” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/2).

TURN THE GRILL ON: In N.Y., Eric Wilson writes Lochte’s patriotic-designed grill that he occasionally wears “does not lend itself to many obvious endorsement opportunities,” as jewelers “seemed to be fairly divided over the look.” Designer Robert Tateossian said, “I was really a bit upset when I saw it. It is so nonharmonious with his image and with the sport that he represents.” However, Tony Khan, whose Houston-based jewelry store designed the grill, has “received hundreds of inquiries” about it. Khan said that it “was completely Mr. Lochte’s design,” and “quite complicated to produce with believable stars and stripes on high-quality diamonds” (N.Y. TIMES, 8/2).

SCHMITT HAPPENS: YAHOO SPORTS' Forde wrote under the header, “Allison Schmitt Steals The Spotlight And Laughs Her Way To Becoming U.S. Swimming’s Breakout Star.” Schmitt, who has two Gold Medals this year after yesterday swimming a come-from-behind anchor leg in the 4x200-meter freestyle relay, “keeps chuckling her way around the pool deck after medal ceremonies with yet another hunk of hardware around her neck.” Forde: “Let's hear it for the winner and unforeseen star (so far) of London. The last of many laughs belongs to Allison Schmitt” (SPORTS.YAHOO.com, 8/1).

REAL AMERICAN HERO: NBCOlympics.com’s Alan Abrahamson said swimmer Nathan Adrian “is an instant American hero” after he won the 100-meter freestyle. Abrahamson: “He comes from a great family. He is everything you’d want in a guy. He is old school. He's gentle, he's soft-spoken and you know what, he just came up big at the greatest time.” Abrahamson said the U.S. swim team “is going to win one-third of Team USA’s medals. It’s great and they’re doing fantastic” (“Today,” NBC, 8/2).

STILL AVOIDING AMBUSH TAG
: MARKETING magazine’s John Reynolds reported Nike has “produced a quick-turnaround digital outdoor and print campaign” featuring British marathoner Paula Radcliffe, “just days after she pulled out of the Olympics” with a foot injury. If Radcliffe had “not been hit by injury, Nike, which is not an official London 2012 sponsor, would not have been able to run the ad because of stringent rules protecting sponsors during the Olympics.” The ad features Radcliffe “brandishing a Union Jack flag” alongside the tagline, "Legends Run Forever" (MARKETINGMAGAZINE.co.uk, 8/1).

STYLE GUIDE: U.S. sprinter Tyson Gay will be wearing a pair of adiZero Prime SPs during his 100 meter competition, which begins on Saturday. The shoes will be personalized with an American-flag inspired design and his daughter’s name, Trinity, on the tongue (adidas).
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