Snowboarder Shaun White's Brand Transcends From Sports Star To Pop Culture Phenom
U.S. snowboarder Shaun White since repeating as the Olympic Halfpipe Gold Medalist at the '10 Vancouver Games has "driven an evolution of his brand that has made him as much a celebrity as top action sports athlete," according to Rachel Axon of USA TODAY. White has become "a household name with witty gum commercials, cameo appearances in films and TV and a rock band of his own." When White competes in two events at the Sochi Games, America will "view him more as a pop-culture icon than action sports novelty." Since Vancouver, he has "achieved something rare among winter Olympians -- he's recognizable without his gear." That has meant his team of "around a dozen employees at Shaun White Enterprises has been busy." He has employees who "help design clothes for his line at Target as well as his line of glasses with Oakley and market his products." Many of White's sponsors were "with him before he won his second gold medal." Burton "signed him when he was 7," and he has been with Target and Oakley "for more than a decade." White said that the collaborative relationships he has with Target and Burton have "existed since the beginning of their partnerships." He added that he has "turned down some contracts that didn't give him that kind of creative control." Axon notes the change in his brand perception "has allowed him to ditch the Flying Tomato nickname, which he initially embraced but became tiresome to him as he got older." Shaun White Enterprises COO Keith Yokomoto said that White has "built a strong brand around his name that represents a lifestyle between action sports and pop culture" (USA TODAY, 2/4).
THE LATEST "IT" GIRL: In Miami, Michelle Kaufman writes under the header, "American Teen Skier Mikaela Shiffrin Is Breakout Star For Olympics." Shiffrin is the "reigning slalom world champion, blonde and telegenic, down-to-earth and chatty." She will be an "undisputed breakout star, the U.S. Olympic team's 'It Girl.'" The SI Olympic preview magazine last week featured Shiffrin on the cover with the header, "The Next Lindsey Vonn" (MIAMI HERALD, 2/4).