SATIRE--Like any popular industry within our monetized system, from Hollywood to Sportscenter, the recognition of its biggest stars is a huge target for all mainstream commercial companies.
The more popular the professional is with the viewing public, the more eyeballs that are glued to what he or she wears, eats, drives, or generally endorses. Companies spend millions on this type of research and marketing, hoping that if you see their celebrity spokesman indulging or sporting their product, you'll get this sudden urge to whip out the plastic and make the economic world go round.
This strategy works for the most part. The average American sees three thousand advertising messages a day—that's a lot of reminders. In my case, these ads remind me that I should be drinking when I get home after work and that my '06 Nissan Altima should be a Lexus, if I want to be as happy as the people in their ads.
Luckily, I’ve lived in America all my life, so I'm accustomed to these types of fantasy driven bombardments stocked full of subliminal messages. We all know how the game works, the disturbing manipulation that goes on between company and consumer.
Furthermore, when corporations stamp a smiling, airbrushed celebrity to their ads, even a small percentage of time, the public goes b-a-n-a-n-a-s, bettering the quarterly projections while all involved sleep better at night.
The plutocracy continues to be preserved and I go to bed thinking my new $300 Air Jordans will defy physics and improve my Caucasian-afflicted hops.
The scary part of the equation is not the affect marketing has on you when you’re awake, but the seed it plants in your subconscious without you being aware. In a way, it’s almost criminal, breaking and entering through the backdoor (to my roommates’ dismay, I always forget to lock the backdoor) of your mind—inception, without the awesome dream or popcorn.
I thought I changed from Scott’s sandpaper to Charmin on my own free-will, not because I saw a new commercial with Lebron James wiping his royal hinny with the triple-quilted stuff. And what about my new pair of Wranglers straight-legs?
Who wouldn’t want pants made from dyed cowhide that snapa at your belly button like a pair of 80’s mom-jeans? Ranches don’t exist anymore Mr. Favre; these jeans are about as comfortable as wearing thermal underwear during a marathon. I’m taking these back, I hope you retire.
In fact, Donald Cerrone is the only “cowboy” allowed to rock Wranglers in 2010.
What does this mean in the mixed martial arts world—about the same. All of our favorite fighter’s have played corporate poster-boy, whether out of financial necessity or not, for combat related companies during their careers.
Watch any major MMA event and notice how instrumental the fighters become, selling a brand or logo—the hats, shirts, drinks, the mosaic of marketing on their trunks.
I admit, I don’t consider myself a “badboy” except on the days I wear my Shogun walk-out tee. The best marketing happens when the right endorsement is put on the right person—some make sense, some don’t. But, if the right connection is made with the fans, seeing their in-ring idols in ads or commercials, the product becomes a secondary thought, firmly buried into the layers of our egos.
When the right moment arrives, I’m more likely to pick the bottle of supplements with Randy Couture’s face on them—whether I’m aware of the reason or not. And, that is the precise payoff companies want from that little seed they plant into your head.
Will the sport ever get so mainstream that we’ll see fighters as the spokesman for regular, everyday products like other sports stars? Let’s take a humorous look at some potential product pairings for these modern day gladiators.