SBD/May 3, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Study Shows Consumers Likely To View Jason Collins As An Effective Endorser

Collins now is seen as having across-the-board appeal to prospective companies
A recent report shows consumers will likely view Wizards C Jason Collins, who publicly announced Monday he is gay, "just as effective a product endorser as a straight athlete," according to Alan Snel of the LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL. Univ. of Southern Maine sport management assistant professor Heidi Parker and Univ. of Connecticut associate professor Janet Fink in November '12 "gathered information from more than 200 college students who responded to two fictional athletes in the sports of skeleton -- one was gay, while the other was straight." They wrote, "Our results indicated that identifying as a gay athlete did not negatively impact participants perceptions of the athlete's endorser characteristics. These results were unexpected, and ... appear to be contrary to public perception." Sports Marketing Association President-Elect Nancy Lough "pointed out that Collins' identity is now bigger than being an NBA player or even a gay athlete because now he is perceived as a role model for diversity and tolerance." She added that perception is "why a company that targets the gay community as a demographic might not necessarily be the ideal match for Collins, who now has across-the-board appeal." Lough: "He doesn't necessarily have to be the poster boy for a gay brand. There are bigger brands that would align with him because he has appeal to a cross-section of people." Zimmerman Advertising Exec VP/Managing Dir Scott Becher said, "If Jason is selective in associating with products that he legitimately uses, those products stand to gain big time. Less is more" (LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL, 5/3).
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