My wife teaches a yoga class and mentioned that a cyclist named Chris was a regular. My nine-year-old daughter responded quickly: “Is that Chris Horner or Chris Froome?”
My wife was a bit stumped -- but the names did sound somewhat familiar to her. That’s because her husband had been bombarding her with the dulcet sounds of European-based cycling programming.
For those completely unaware, Chris Froome was the second-ever Tour de France winner from Great Britain in 2013. Later than year Chris Horner, an American, became the oldest-ever winner, at 41, of one of the three Grand Tours (a cycling event of which the Tour de France is one) called the Vuelta a Espana.
(Alas, the cyclist Chris in my wife’s class was neither.)
Is my daughter familiar with names like LeBron, Kobe, ‘Melo, or the Splash Brothers? Probably not so much. Nor is she all that inquisitive about her sports-type gifts and their marketing extensions.
She regularly dons two sports-uniform-type T-shirts: a green New York Jets one with the name “Sanchez” on the back; and a deep-blue New York Yankees shirt proclaiming the name “Jeter.”
Marketers of cool headphones, cell phone services or car insurance companies tend to gravitate to a male-dominated TV audience, typically leaning on a celebrity or athlete to make the sale.
Being associated with major sports figures can get you where you want to go. But are you choosing the right one for your target? If Froome or Horner ever become a spokesperson for Rainbow Loom, ballet or fashion accessories, or Taylor Swift-inspired music, I know one customer who will be ready and interested in a purchase.