Why many brands pick star athletes as Ďambassadorsí
Barry Viloria on Oct 13, 2016 10:23 PM
Like celebs, our favorite players are also being tapped as influencers. Know the reason behind this phenomenon. (Photo taken from Mika Reyes' Instagram account: @reyesmikaaa)
At some point while you’re slacking there in bed just browsing Instagram, you might have seen a photo of Alyssa Valdez and her new watch or Mika Reyes and her new set of lotions. It’s no accident, and no rocket science, either. Some of our favorite star athletes have trespassed the world of celebrity they now do endorsements for a price, like how Forbes list-ers Cristiano Ronaldo, Roger Federer, LeBron James, and Tiger Woods are.
From playing it hard on the court, our star athletes have gone on to be brand ambassadors. These days, there’s a whole new tier of being an “ambassador” or so they call “influencer,” one who heavily involves the use of social media. An influencer’s involvement isn’t just limited to his face on a certain brand’s collaterals or his attendance at an event. It’s also about being active online, an aggressive approach when spreading info and commercial or even philanthropic initiatives about the brand he endorses.
But what makes an influencer?
Online marketing and advertising professional Niche Dumlao explains, “Influencers can be either thought leaders and digital natives. The first segment comprises people who have certain expertise in different fields, not necessarily with high following, but have bearing in their chosen fields,” while “the second segment comprises people with higher number of following and have larger social networks. Their main edge in a campaign is really awareness.”
In line with his goal, the influencer uses other online platforms like YouTube, Instagram, Twitter, or Snapchat. Dumlao says.
That said, it isn’t at all shocking that brands tap our star athletes like Valdez and Reyes as influencers. They make up every part of Dumlao’s definition, being experts in their field (sports, duh) and being huge off- and online. By “huge,” we mean the obvious: Hundreds of thousands of followers, numerous fan clubs, and just plain adulation whenever they post something about anything.
Tessa Jazmines, UAAP fan and president of Larc & Asset PR—the agency that has handled the league’s media relations sporadically throughout the years, knows too well why brands especially favor star athletes as influencers or endorsers over celebrities.
Jazmines says it isn’t just about the looks (which primarily make up the trappings of a legit celeb). It’s also about his relationship with his fans, and lastly, it’s also about the spirit he gives in his game. And that’s exactly why there are no “losers” when it comes to athletes being influencers.
“Why did Nike choose Ateneo, La Salle, and FEU? Because they’re the strongest teams!” she provides as insight on the current UAAP men’s basketball situation. “Ang hinahanap naman ng Chooks to Go ay yung lumalaban like UP.”
“So, depende yun on how you market your brand, what your brand image is, so hahanapin mo yun. Syempre, Nike, goddess of victory kaya pipiliin nun yung malalakas na teams. So, overall, it’s impact and personality.”
Some top athletes’ managers couldn’t agree more.
Vania Padilla-Edralin, who manages Valdez, Amy Ahomiro, Maddie Madayag, Thirdy Ravena, and brothers JC and Rex Intal, says, “It's the positive values and healthy lifestyle that athletes promote. They are good role models especially for the youth. Brands like to associate themselves with endorsers that will add value to their brands.”
Paula Punla, who handles Arnold van Opstal and Aljun Melecio, plus Jeron and Jeric Teng in the past, adds it’s the “good reputation and background, humility, looks, and talent” that make them worthy investments. “They inspire people.” --With additional interview by Pauline Verzosa