One of the biggest moments in a young athletes life is the day they are drafted/signed by a professional team. The pomp and circumstance of the whole ritual is something that these athletes dream about their whole lives. Their name is called, they put on a hat and/or jersey, take a picture with the league representative, and begin their new life as a professional athlete. However, there are moments that lead up to this culmination/convocation that effect the rest of their lives as well.
One of the biggest? Singing endorsement deals.
Robert Griffin III was fresh off of his Heisman Trophy winning season and was a predicted Top Two draft pick in the 2012 NFL Draft. He had signed his agent and was going through all the proper steps to prepare for the draft. Then he began signing his endorsement deals.
The reason I bring up “RGIII” in particular is because of the nature of his deals. His first deal was easy. Sportswear company adidas. In recent days, he has signed with protective equipment company Evoshield. Both of these make sense for a future football player to endorse. But his second endorsement brought a few raised eyebrows.
To me, this is a brilliant move. As Darren Rovell says in his article linked above, athletes are always signing the same deals. Nike, adidas or Under Armor. Subway, Sprint or Kia. It gets a bit predictable. How many Subway commercials do I have to see that tout all of the superstar athletes that like to “eat fresh?” There isn’t much originality and new audiences are rarely reached. That’s where the Castrol signing is so interesting.
By signing on to be a spokesperson for a company which does most of its advertising at NASCAR events, RGIII is broadening his influence and reaching out to potential new fans. Not only is this a “win” for Griffin, but it is also a win for the Washington Redskins (the team that drafted Griffin) as well as the NFL as a whole. Likewise, Castrol is now being introduced to a new audience that may not normally watch NASCAR. This results in more customers for the motor oil company.
The name of the game is always reaching untapped audiences. Griffin and Castrol helped each other in major ways. NASCAR fans who may not watch football will now know RGII. NFL fans will now know Castrol. And we don’t need to see any more Subway commercials overloaded with athletes…yet.
***EDIT***: A friend brought to my attention that Castrol is a sponsor of the NFL as well as NHRA (National Hot Rod Association). NASCARs official oil sponsor, however, is Mobil 1. Also, Redskins owner Joe Gibbs is a owner of a NASCAR team. The idea of reaching new audiences is still pertinent though. RGIII signing with a non-conventional (by NFL player standards) company should have other athletes taking note. Whether or not Castrol is the official motor oil of the NFL is irrelevant to me. It is the precedent of the matter. Why does the NFL have an official motor oil anyway…