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I Don’t Trust Shaq

To my knowledge, I don’t own any toiletries endorsed by Shaquille O’Neal. That makes me a statistical anomaly, because Shaq is estimated to bankroll $23 million this year from advertisers ranging from Arizona Iced Tea to Buick to Gold Bond. A man of large stature with an even more booming personality, Shaq has parlayed a wildly successful basketball career into a stream of ad revenue and paid product positioning for quite the bevy of brands. The only drawback to the Brandmaster Flash is that I don’t buy an ounce of whatever he’s selling, simply because he’s so corporately malleable.

The best celebrity endorsements come from the mouths that speak candidly. Staying in Shaq’s weight class, Charles Barkley penned his iconic “I Am Not A Role Model” commercial for Nike which was lauded by ad men and sports pundits alike for its honesty. When Shaq talks to me about Zales diamonds, I can’t help but wonder if he even waits to cash his check until after he leaves the studio. To his credit, Shaq has greater acting versatility than Maggie Gyllenhaal, as evidenced by these gems, for Gold Bond and Chris Christie:

Shaq’s personal brand is so strong that it seems to work for almost any product or politician. On top of that, Shaq knows no shame. And I love that, but you’d be hard-pressed to find anyone who takes a paid head’s word as gospel, even if that head wears a size 16 cap.

~ Chase Cambria, Jr. Copywriter, The S3 Agency


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