Invisible Man: Despite On-Court Success, Nowitzki Largely Unknown To U.S. Consumers
Despite leading the Mavericks to the NBA Finals, Dirk Nowitzki “is unlikely to become a highly pursued pitchman,” according to Cheryl Hall of the DALLAS MORNING NEWS. Data from The Marketing Arm shows that “nearly two-thirds of American consumers still don’t recognize” Nowitzki, even after his “stellar performance in the Western Conference playoffs.” The Marketing Arm Dir of Agency Communications Chris Anderson said, "Here's arguably one of the top 10 basketball players in the world, yet he’s known by less than 40 percent of U.S. consumers.” Nowitzki is “practically invisible" compared to Heat F LeBron James, who is recognized by eight of 10 consumers, and even Mavericks G Jason Kidd "scores higher, with nearly half of consumers knowing who he is." Hall notes Nowitzki’s performance in the Finals “might yield endorsement opportunities, especially locally." But Anderson said, "Will he become the next Michael Jordan or Shaquille O’Neal? No. And that’s probably just fine with Dirk.” Dallas Morning News columnist Kevin Sherrington: “Dirk is an interesting pro athlete. He’s more than happy to help out the Mavs in their ticket campaigns or promotions. He’ll do all sorts of goofy stuff. He’s clever and playful by nature. But he doesn’t care for publicity.” Sherrington also noted that “not many foreign-born athletes from non-English-speaking countries have made it big as pitchmen.” Still, while Nowitzki may not be "as well-known as LeBron, he’s better liked." More than 80% of U.S. consumers "who know of Nowitzki like him to some degree," compared to 68% who "feel any warmth toward James” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/1).
MR. POPULAR: Mavericks G J.J. Barea said that he is "getting more endorsement deals now,” in part because of his postseason play. Barea has been endorsing T-Moblie in his native Puerto Rico for the past year. When asked if he is the Dwyane Wade of T-Mobile in Puerto Rico, Barea said, “Yeah. Bigger, though” (DALLAS MORNING NEWS, 6/1).