For this week’s Monday Matchup, opendorse has analyzed the marketing production of this week’s Monday Night Football stars – Andrew Luck and Cam Newton.
Coming out of Stanford, Andrew Luck was one of the most hyped athletes in America. Turns out, the hype was well deserved. Luck emerged as the top NFL quarterback prospect following his redshirt sophomore season at Stanford, a season in which he was a runner-up for the Heisman. Although he was considered the lock to be the No. 1 overall pick, Luck decided to return to Stanford for his junior year. The impressive performances continued, leading to Luck winning both the Maxwell and Walter Camp awards which crown the best player in college football. Luck would miss out on the Heisman for a second year after being edged out by Robert Griffin III. Prior to the 2012 draft, ESPN’s Mel Kiper considered Luck the best quarterback prospect since John Elway. For that reason, fans around the country clamored for their respective teams to “Suck for Luck” and tank their season so that they could draft the highly touted prospect. The Indianapolis Colts won — or lost — the sweepstakes and drafted Andrew Luck with the first pick in the draft.
Luck was brought into Indianapolis with an immense amount of pressure on his shoulders. After missing the 2011 season due to multiple surgeries, the Colts released Peyton Manning and the rookie QB had to fill the legend’s void. In his first season, Luck took a 2-14 Colts team from 2011 and led them to an 11-5 record and a playoff appearance. Actually, Luck has yet to have a season in which his team has not gone 11-5 and ended in a playoff appearance. While he has had success in his first three seasons, Luck and his Colts have struggled thus far in 2015.
Luck’s off-field performance has been just as impressive as his stats on Sundays. Just as scouts were drooling over Andrew Luck coming out of college, so were brand marketers. Luck has gathered an impressive list of endorsements over the years, beginning with sports apparel giant, Nike. With Nike as a strong foundation, Luck has continued to add Lenovo, Quaker Oats, Klipsch, and TD Ameritrade in recent years. In 2013, Luck became an investor in the new sports drink, BodyArmor, which he now endorses. Luck followed in Peyton Manning’s footsteps to Indy and has now followed Manning to DIRECTV. DIRECTV has had “really high voice Peyton Manning,” “arts and crafts Tony Romo,” and has now added “out of control beard Andrew Luck.”
Last season, the creation of General Andrew Luck made the rounds on social media. Accompanied with this well-photoshopped portrait are occasional letters written from “General Luck” to his “Dearest Abigail.” The letters go on to portray Colts games as if they were battles in the mid 1800’s. Although Luck has no part in the creation of this fake persona, his name has continued to spread as its popularity has grown.
The sky is the limit when it comes to Luck’s endorsement earning potential. The highly touted quarterback has continued to succeed on the field, and has many years ahead of him. As long as the on-field success continues, Luck has everything it takes to become one of the NFL’s highest-earning endorsers.
It only took Cam Newton one year at Auburn to prove that he was one of the best players in college football, but the journey to get there was rough. After being a five-star recruit and signing to play at Florida, Newton was suspended from the team during his sophomore year. Cam was arrested for stealing a laptop from another student and eventually throwing it out of his dorm window. In the months following, Newton would go on to transfer to a junior college, win the starting quarterback spot, and lead his team to a National Championship. As the No. 1 junior college quarterback in the nation, Newton eventually signed with the Auburn Tigers. In just his first year with the Tigers, Newton led the team to an undefeated season, a National Championship, and beat out Andrew Luck for the 2010 Heisman Trophy. Newton went on to become the No. 1 overall pick by the Carolina Panthers and quickly earned the starting role. With Newton at the helm, Carolina has made two postseason appearances in his first four seasons and is currently undefeated entering tonight’s matchup with Indianapolis.
Cam Newton has stayed out of legal trouble since the incident during his time at Florida. With his change in behavior, Newton has seen his endorsement opportunities soar. Under Armour added Newton to their young roster of athletes when they beat out Adidas and Nike to sign him in 2011. Cam has also teamed up with FNV, Dannon, STACK, GMC, and even helped release a new flagrance with L’Oreal. Newton made headlines last season involving one of his endorsements when he was among several NFL players to be fined for wearing his Beats by Dre headphones during warm-ups. The fine stemmed from the NFL deal with Bose as an official sponsor. Newton has also taken part in Gatorade’s “Sweat it, to get it” campaign, where he slaps Gatorade bottles out of the hands of customers who are not willing to “sweat for it.” The most famous ad for Newton came in 2012 when he took part in a commercial for NFL Play 60, in which a child learns that if he plays 60 minutes a day, he could grow up to be big and strong like Cam Newton…and become Cam’s mother’s favorite player.
Newton has overcome adversity and has made the most of his second chance. This signal caller has been successful everywhere he has played and Carolina appears to be no different. Currently leading an undefeated team, Newton could be on his way to deep playoff run. Winning creates more exposure, and more exposure typically leads to more marketing opportunities. The combination of Cam’s young age and on-field success has set the Panther quarterback up for future endorsement success.