Tim Tebow, the Denver Broncos first-round draft pick and Focus on the Family’s favorite QB, is in the news again today, this time for signing on as a spokesman for Jockey underwear.
The punsters are having a field day with the association (I’ll refrain), but I’m happy for Tim and his family. After he agreed to film Focus on the Family’s “controversial” Super Bowl commercial, many industry watchers suggested he had blown any chance for major endorsement deals. They were wrong. Before agreeing to terms with Jockey yesterday, Tim previously inked significant contracts with Nike and EAS.
Not bad for a guy who has yet to take a snap in the NFL.
Corporate America has always liked a star – but they especially appreciate putting their money behind clean-cut celebrities who embody and promote good values.
The answer is obvious, of course.
Follow the money.
To align with a well-respected celebrity is a wildly effective way to sell a product. Corporate marketers run from scandal like mice run from the light.
Just ask Mel Gibson’s agent at the William Morris Agency.
So, isn’t it strange that the very traits that make people like Tim Tebow so marketable, are the same characteristics that are regularly mocked by so many in the media?
Our big talk radio station out here in Colorado is owned by Clear Channel. Known as the “50,000 watt blow torch of the West” 850 KOA is a legendary station that broadcasts every Broncos game. I love to listen to them in the car, especially on Sunday afternoons in the fall. So, they’re clearly pro Denver Broncos and, supposedly, by association, pro Tim Tebow.
Yet, just this morning, on KOA’s Colorado’s Morning News, the crew played a raunchy, albeit satirically produced clip, mocking Tim Tebow’s virginity. At one point the announcer said, in his best ESPN promoter voice, that Mr. Tebow is the “only quarterback in the NFL who still hasn’t scored.”
This type of talk isn’t limited to Denver’s KOA radio. The topic has come up on any number of sport talk shows and regular news programs around the country this past year. The innuendo, sometimes subtle, sometimes not, is that Tim is some oddball or freaky square plucked from Andy Griffith’s Mayberry.
Ironically, players in the NFL can father numerous kids out of wedlock — have a “girlfriend” in every city they visit — and that’s supposed to be normal and acceptable?
What is going on?
The very fact that corporations put their money (and lots of it!) behind people like Tim Tebow is a reality that gives me cause for hope. Companies are not, by nature, charitable enterprises. They wouldn’t invest in wholesomeness if wholesomeness didn’t sell.
Tim Tebow’s rise to fame and fortune is a good thing on many levels and only confirms what we already know:
At a time when many in the media are growing increasingly out-of-touch with Americans, Americans are hungry for a hero and even hungrier for a person who is worth cheering for both on and off the field.