- ‘Tis the Season: London florist creates $4.6 million Christmas wreath
- No tailgating allowed at Super Bowl XLVIII
- Pentagon to transport African troops to Central African Republic
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend’s shopping jumps to his death
- Ukraine leader to talk with protesters; Washington urges caution
- Pope Francis: A nun saved my life
- Israeli P.M. Netanyahu backs out of Mandela funeral
- Elian Gonzalez makes first trip outside Cuba since custody battle
- U.S., British intelligence agents enter online sci-fi world to spy on gamers
- Sarah Palin to host the outdoors show ‘Amazing America’
Some athlete endorsement deals make perfect sense. Michael Jordan and Nike, for instance. Michael Phelps and Speedo is another. But for every magical meshing of athlete and product, there are countless other partnerships that may be a bit harder to process.
There’s Jordan and Rayovac Batteries, Rafael Palmeiro and Viagra, and, for a more recent example, Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia endorsing a line of chunky salsas.
Capitals star Alex Ovechkin this week reprised his role as a spokesman for Hair Cuttery, with a new Web site and a roving billboard that will appear outside Verizon Center during home games. While far from the strangest athlete-company relationship out there, it’s a departure from the common deals involving sports drinks, sneakers or equipment.
Of course, it’s one thing for a consumer to go out and buy Ovechkin’s skates, his stick or his energy drink. But will they flock to get their hair trimmed at Hair Cuttery?
“That’s what we hope,” said Diane Daly, spokeswoman for the Ratner Companies, which owns Hair Cuttery. “Our goal, of course, is to get people who maybe haven’t tried us to come and check us out.”
Marketing experts said the persuasion hinges on athletes projecting excellence, success and strength. These are all qualities that all companies, regardless of industry, hope to project in their own brands. And, the experts said, there’s nothing wrong with an athlete endorsing a company unrelated to sports, as long as it comes off as genuine.
“I don’t think athletes need to be advertising only athletic gear,” said Roland Rust, chair of the marketing department at the University of Maryland’s Robert H. Smith School of Business. “They are well-known people, and have personalities that are well-known. That can work with many products.”
Rust said the important issues are making sure there is a believability to the relationship and that the image is consistent. An ad featuring Ovechkin for women’s clothing, for instance, wouldn’t work. But in the case of the Ovechkin-Hair Cuttery deal, it is widely known that the Caps star is a frequent customer of the company’s Ballston Mall franchise. The deal with Hair Cuttery may help the company and also allow Ovechkin to project a down-to-earth image.
“He is really our customer,” Daly said. “He’s a guy’s guy, but he wants to look good and he’s very busy. So he can just stop by. It’s no hassle.”
It’s impossible to know whether Ovechkin will boost business for Hair Cuttery. But it probably won’t hurt.
“Look at it this way: would anyone be even looking at a Hair Cuttery ad if he wasn’t in it?” Rust said.
About the Author
- First Down: Best weekend bets
- SportsBiz: What the next decade holds
- Shifting sands for NCAA
- Monumental sports year will connect fans on a global scale
- SportsBiz: Selling a new career
Latest Blog Entries
By Tom Fitton
New photos confirm the attack's coordination and its cover-up
- Chinese man fed up with his girlfriend's shopping jumps to his death
- Israeli P.M. Benjamin Netanyahu backs out of Nelson Mandela funeral
- Obama lied about Syrian chemical attack, 'cherry-picked' intelligence: report
- CURL: Obama tells a whopper on IRS scandal
- Lawmakers see 'false narrative' of Obama as a terrorist fighter
- MSNBC host: Obamacare a 'wealthy white men' racist word
- Satanists petition for statue at Oklahoma Statehouse
- Inside China: Nuclear submarines capable of widespread attack on U.S.
- MILLER: Brady Campaign says Colorado recalls due to NRA, not grassroots opposition to gun control
- Ted Cruz sees legal landmines ahead for Obamacare
Independent voices from the The Washington Times Communities
The Constitution: Every issue, every time. No exceptions, no excuses. And how to get from here to there.
Crystal Wright is a black conservative woman living in Washington, D.C.
All of the world’s problems, solved on your back porch
Why can’t humans just be free to be humans?
White House pets gone wild!
Let it snow