David Beckham As An Advertiser’s Dream And A Sporting Icon.

Not the best, not the most important — but certainly one of the most relevant athletes in the world.

Illustration(David Beckham) by Adrian Twumasi

A career in sports has significant benefits for the player. It provides a long, stable, and high paying career. However, it also helps the sportsman reach the ranks of a celebrity.

Some of these icons experience stardom like no other. Take David Beckham as an example. Over his long, illustrious career, he won numerous accolades that put him in the spotlight consistently. Even after retiring from his professional sports career, he is considered a legendary sporting icon today. The benefit of being famous is the constant interest it generates in advertisement deals.

From an advertiser’s perspective, David Beckham reinforces and supports their product in commercials, making it a sure shot at numerous sales and best business outcomes. In marketing terms, Beckham is really two people: a footballer and a commodity.

When David Beckham signed for Real Madrid in 2003, the BBC reported that as part of the deal, he agreed to hand over 50% of all future sponsorship contracts for products he might agree to endorse. In 2009, Florentino Perez, the club’s president, said,

‘When Beckham came we went from earning €7m a year to €45m a year through our deals with our sponsors. There are certain players who are very profitable because they have spectacular commercial repercussions that earn the club money’.

In 2012, in the twilight of his footballing career, he earned more money from his brand than he had ever done before. When he joined LA Galaxy in 2007 he had deals with Adidas, Gillette, Motorola, PepsiCo and Walt Disney. Since then, he has partnered Giorgio Armani, Sharpie, Yahoo, Electronic Arts, Samsung Electronics, Burger King, Sainsbury and Breitling.

For advertisers, people with a fan following as massive as David Beckham are just a few. However, casting them in commercials or using them as brand ambassadors allows the brand to establish its identity quickly. Think of the exposure you get when you turn on the television and see a new brand being endorsed by David Beckham. The focus and attention of such an advertisement are much greater than the same brand endorsed by someone you barely know about.

For example, Castrol used him in adverts across the Asia Pacific region after research found that more than 80% of consumers in Thailand, Vietnam and China said a link with the footballer would be a reason to buy its engine oil.

Additionally, it leads to the brand basing its success and fame on an established personality. He sells products because he can be many things to many people. He is not one dimensional — he appeals to both men and women.

To men, he represents tenacity, skill, patriotism and success; women appreciate his undoubted good looks, his loyalty and his willingness to embrace his feminine side. Die-hard fans of him, will happily try the product that he endorses.

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