An interesting thing happened a couple weeks ago. I was on Twitter, following the GWS Giant’s #AskAGiant hour with Shane Mumford. If you don’t know about this, it’s a Twitter chat where a player takes over the Giant’s account for an hour (I think?) and answers fan’s questions that are hashtagged “Ask A Giant.” They do a different player every few weeks. I, of course, loved the Jeremy Cameron one the best. The player can pick and choose which ones he answers. (Sidenote: I think this is a great idea and I think there’s a great amount of involvement. Think of the possibilities!)
One of the questions asked Mummy what he ordered from McDonalds. He said “Hate McDonalds, I’m a Red Rooster man.” This interested me…
I remember (AGES AGO) Jessica Simpson got in trouble for wearing jeans that weren’t from her own clothing line. And a few times, I’ve heard of actresses who have caused riffs with sponsors for not mentioning them (and mentioning competitors instead) during magazine interviews. Same goes for sport in the US – I mean, can you imagine if Michael Jordan said he didn’t like Nike? Or if a Celtics player said he got his home loan from Bank of America? BLASPHEMOUS.
As an American (even one who doesn’t eat at McDonalds – bar the ice cream cones – who doesn’t love a good ice cream cone?) I have feelings about people who hate McDonalds. But besides that, I thought it was interesting that he chose Red Rooster – a company that has no affiliation with the Giants or the AFL. If he was going to express his distaste for a company, wouldn’t one assume he would do it in order to promote a sponsor?
In this case, GWS has no fast food sponsor and I actually don’t know of an AFL club off the top of my head that does… But the AFL does have Hungry Jacks. I don’t know the specifics of this agreement (obviously – but I would LOVE if someone wanted to give me the deets) but I have to wonder what the arrangement says about clubs and player’s promoting competitors. Maybe there’s nothing in the contract about it. Maybe the sponsors don’t care. But I can’t imagine that ground-breaking earth-shaking partnerships are built when players ignore sponsorships in favour of personal preferences.
I’ve never done the math (mainly because I don’t have access to the numbers, but also because I’m certain that someone else has done it before and I’m no copycat) but player endorsements tend to increase sales of a product. I mean, do you have any idea how many Powerades the boy bought when he heard that an AFL player drank 15 of them before a game? (I should know who it is, and he’ll kill me for forgetting). He bought HEAPS. And that’s a gross understatement.
I’m not saying that players should lie in order to promote sponsors or their products – that would defeat the whole purpose of things like #AskAGiant – but there should be some middle ground, no? I mean, the Sydney Swans all drive Volkswagens – surely AFL players can say they like Hungry Jacks onion rings.