Football is about a month away, Peyton Manning is retired after winning the Super Bowl but he isn’t going anywhere.
No, he’s not suiting up for the Denver Broncos or any other team. As the numero uno pitchman among athletes, Peyton Manning will still dominate the airwaves in the many commercial breaks during the NFL season.
For some time now, he and his brother, Eli, have been front and center in DirecTV’s NFL Sunday Ticket ads and, like other brands, DirecTV has found celebrity nirvana in Peyton Manning.
I’ve often said that brands need to be wary of celebrity spokespeople because being intertwined with that person that can be damaging. Imagine what would happen if John Schnatter (Papa John) was involved in some scandal. The brand would be in trouble. In addition, having a celebrity so involved in a brand is also kind of lazy. It’s doing the hard work of brand building the easy and often less effective way. (It can also be a short-term solution.)
What Peyton Manning brings to a brand
But even I have to admit that sometimes the celebrity endorsement works if the personality of the celebrity meshes with that of the brand. Matthew McConaughey’s stylish calm works perfectly with the Lincoln brand and sales have increased since McDonaughey has been the face of the brand.
Peyton Manning is a different animal. He is one of the most accomplished comic actors among sports athletes that I’ve ever seen. He is understated in a kind of dorky way that makes him immediately likeable (“Cut that meat!” Cut that meat!”) and easy to identify with.
In fact, the coming campaign of DirecTV featuring Peyton Manning might be even stronger now that the star quarterback has retired from the gridiron. It puts him in the same place the rest of us are: Watching the games instead of playing them.
I’ve enjoyed Peyton in commercials but wondered if his personality matches up with all the brands he fronts. He wouldn’t be able to sell Lincolns the way McConaughey can, for instance. And you wonder if the Peyton Manning brand is so stretched too thin over numerous brands that he becomes less believable.
Now, with a DirecTV campaign that features him wearing his bathrobe and watching TV he becomes a better face. The face of the NFL fan.