Tim Lincecum, winner of Game 5 of the 2010 World Series and the last two NL Cy Young Awards, has no major endorsements. And most believe that directly correlates to his arrest for a small amount of marijuana (3.3 grams) last October. That’s pretty surprising. While America is far from OK with pot use, advertisers appealing specifically to a younger demographic would probably stand to gain from a Lincecum endorsement.
We’re not talking about the Disney crowd. When Michael Phelps was pictured with a bong in February 2009, the one sponsorship he actually lost was Kellogg’s. Meanwhile, Phelps’ other major endorsers, including Subway, Omega, and Speedo, looked past the incident.
If a major watch brand and one of the largest food chains in America have already put their names behind a pot-smoker, what California area skateboard company or video game manufacturer, wouldn’t want to appeal to Bay Area “slackers” with Timmy’s boyish charm?
Because for all the trouble athletes find themselves in, being caught with a “thumb-sized” amount of marijuana barely registers a blip on the radar. Giants fans already fill AT&T park with the stench of weed, so the theory that Lincecum doesn’t get endorsements because of pot just doesn’t add up.
The real reason: Brands that employ athlete endorsers tend to look for players with a rugged image. Men’s beauty brands such as Old Spice, Head & Shoulders, and Gillette utilise Ray Lewis, Troy Polamalu, and Derek Jeter, respectively, because they personify manliness. Wrangler uses Brett Favre, Burger King used Tony Stewart, and Icy Hot used Shaq to achieve that same image. These athletes are rugged men; guys that “normal” guys can relate to.
Meanwhile, Lincecum has all the ruggedness of a high schooler. He barely grows facial hair, doesn’t look old enough to drive, and wears his hair in a manner that befits a pre-teen better than it does a professional. So until companies appealing to teenage demographics use athlete spokespeople, Lincecum will continue to be shut out. There’s no moral stance against drugs when there’s money to be made.
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