Forget the commercials — the true marketing stars of Super Bowl XLVII will be on the field. Players from both the San Francisco 49ers and Baltimore Ravens, as well as their coaches, all stand to gain depending on the outcome of this year's Super Bowl, a new poll shows.
However, certain players stand to gain more than others. In particular, the most valuable player of Super Bowl XLVII should see the biggest bump in marketability, experts say.
"Every attribute will spike – awareness, appeal, influence, trendsetter, breakthrough," said Matt Delzell, a senior director at The Marketing Arm who specializes in celebrity endorsements. "In terms of endorsements, there's no bigger launching pad (than the Super Bowl). Serious fans — real NFL fans — are already familiar with the players. But for the casual fan or the nonfan, Sunday's big game is often the first time they've seen most of these players."
Though the MVP of the game may stand to gain most in the short term, certain players have a leg up on the field. In particular, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice may be best poised to take advantage of the spotlight. Both are prominent members of their teams who were also rated as the most likeable players from their respective teams by the Celebrity DBI, an independent index that ranks the public perception of nearly 3,000 celebrities.
"At this point, the Harbaugh brothers and Colin Kaepernick," said Delzell. "The Harbaughs make for a good storyline and Kaepernick is a dynamic player with a warm disposition who has deftly handled the spotlight." (Jim and John Harbaugh are the first pair of brothers to ever coach against each other in the Super Bowl.)
Kaepernick, a second-year quarterback who has started just nine games in his professional career before Super Bowl XLVII, has already made quite an impact on consumers. Forty percent of consumers say they know Kaepernick, beating out teammates including linebacker Patrick Willis, tight end Vernon Davis and running back Frank Gore. Kaepernick's likability puts him in line with Owen Wilson, Beyonce and Leonardo DiCaprio. Kaepernick also ranks as the most aspirational player in the game, beating out Baltimore quarterback Joe Flacco by two points.
None of those players, however, are the most well-known player suiting up this Sunday. That honor belongs to 49ers receiver Randy Moss, who has the highest awareness score in this year's game, despite the fact that he has had a limited role on the team. Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis was right behind Moss. Fifty-four percent of consumers say they are familiar with Lewis, but experts warn that his marketability may be hurt by recent allegations of performance-enhancing drug use and a previous obstruction of justice charge stemming from a nightclub stabbing incident in 2000.
"With a big personality and a Hall of Fame career, Ray was clearly one of the most marketable players heading into Sunday's game," said Delzell. "But brands are probably hesitant following the claims. Even if they prove to be false, it still hurts his marketability in the short term around the Super Bowl."
Other potential marketing stars of the Super Bowl include theHarbaugh brothers. Jim, head coach of the 49ers, is better known than his brother John, the DBI says. However, John was rated as more likeable and trustworthy than his younger brother.
"We've known Jim a lot longer than John because Jim was the starter at Michigan, was a first-round draft pick, then played in the NFL for more than a decade, was a Pro Bowl quarterback and played with some good Bears and Colts teams," said Darin David, a senior director at The Marketing Arm. "Jim draws more attention for his sideline demeanor, but both are seen as smart, charismatic coaches. There will be plenty of marketing opportunities regardless of how the Super Bowl plays out."