In case you have not heard, Tim Tebow, the Heisman Trophy winner from the University of Florida, has been tapped to serve as a spokesmen in a Super Bowl ad set to air this Sunday. This, even though Tebow has yet to play a single down in the NFL. Forget the fact that he has not even been drafted yet, but apparently he has enough celebrity to appear in a Super Bowl ad.
The spot concerns abortion, a highly charged topic no matter what side you take. It evokes strong feelings on both sides, which means each side risks offending the other.
Sports pundits are applauding and decrying Tim’s decision to do the ad. Some say he is doing what he believes to be right. Others are saying he is in danger of hurting his career. In fact, both sides are right.
There are a couple things at play here. First, a future professional athlete is taking a stand on something – without getting paid and without pretense. In a professional sports league where dog-fighting, guns, DUIs and drugs have dominated the off-the-field headlines, someone is making news by standing up for something, even Americans have mixed opinions about the issue.
The reason that Tim Tebow is getting so much scrutiny for his upcoming Super Bowl ad is because of it represents a stake in the ground that is clear and emotionally important for a portion of the audience. You know exactly what the “brand” of Tim Tebow is about. Its potentially offensive undertones is what makes it clear.
Now if marketing could only be this clear.
The problem that many organizations, companies and brands have is they try to be all things for everyone. Their tone and attitude become so vanilla that they lose all meaning and become muddled with so much gunk that they are simply ignored. In a marketplace where consumers are constantly being bombarded with messages, tone and attitude are your friends.
Just ask Tim Tebow. No matter what an organization does, there will always be consumers who do not choose you. Being clear with attitude does not cost you consumers. It tells them exactly who you are for (and who you are not for). If you are proud of what you make or do, shouldn’t you have the courage of your convictions to tell it to the world? Tim Tebow does.