Sunday, October 14, 2007

The Beckham Brand

Ashley Rickenbach

OVERVIEW


David Beckham is a world renowned soccer player, who has appeared in three World Cups, was chosen runner-up for FIFA World Player of the Year twice and is the world’s highest paid footballer, better known as soccer in the United States. Beckham began his career with Manchester United in 1992 at age 17. During his time at United, he won six Premiership titles, two FA Cup titles and the UEFA Champions League. In 2003, Beckham left United to play for Real Madrid where he played for four seasons. In his final season with Real, the team won the La Liga title. In January 2007, Beckham announced he was leaving Real Madrid and signed a five-year contract with the Los Angeles Galaxy. His new contract with the Galaxy, estimated to be worth $250 million with endorsements, gave him the highest salary of any Major League Soccer player in history.

Although Beckham is known for his soccer skills in Europe and Asia, he is more famous around the world for his good looks, changing hair styles and partnership with the world’s top brands. He only drinks Pepsi, he only wears adidas, he only talks using Motorola products and he only shaves with Gillette. He has been and currently is endorsed by some of the most well known products in the world. In July, the Times of London estimated his deals were worth $41.3 million a year.

Beckham comes to the United States as a super-celeb married to Spice Girl, Victoria (Posh Spice) Beckham. Victoria in her own right has tried to create a brand for herself. She has created her own fashion line, appeared in her own television show and most recently wrote a book about fashion. The two put together create Team Beckham, a branded celebrity couple.

David Beckham has conquered the rest of the world as the most recognizable footballer, now he comes to the United States to convert football, baseball and basketball-crazed Americans into soccer fans. United States sports fans have the least interest in soccer, so it will be a challenge for Beckham to win over the fans of other popular American sports.

“There are so many great sports in America,” said Beckham. “There are so many kids that play baseball, American football, and basketball. But soccer is huge all around the world apart from America, so that’s where I want to make a difference with the kids.”

“I’m going out there to hopefully build a club and team that’s got a lot of potential,” says Beckham of the LA Galaxy. “I think that’s what excites me.”

Although agent Simon Fuller, creator of “American Idol,” is not fully worried about transitioning the United States into die hard soccer fans, the Beckham team needs to further extend his brand to make his move a successful one. Transitioning other sports fans into soccer fans would be a long-term positive benefit to his move.

RESEARCH

According to a celebrity branding article by Chris Grannell, when people follow celebrities in magazines they are not interested in the name, rather in the media icon, the freely-available public face, the thing with which the wider community has a relationship: and this is the brand.

Corporate branding techniques for celebrities:
• Marketing and protecting the brand identity
• Trademarking and licensing the name
• Launching product lines
• Embracing product endorsements to boost perceived value to consumers

A celebrity branding campaign usually:
• Attempts to establish a positive connection between the celebrity and the consumer
• Is orchestrated by an agency or management firm

Celebrity brands have to have:
• A unique selling proposition
• Intangible assets such as a name, a reputation, a credibility and an image

Celebrity licensed products accounted for $3 billion in retail sales in 2002. This is not just because people recognize the celebrity and buy something with their names on it. It’s because these celebrities established themselves as a brand.

“If you have consumers who recognize you and really like you a lot who are not basketball fans or who don’t go to your movies, then you have transcended your immediate target, and you can create icon status,” said Henry Schaffer, executive vice president at Marketing Evaluations.
David Beckham the man is the one we see on the football field. David Beckham the brand is the one that exists in people’s heads. The brand encompasses more than the person who gives his name to it. He has developed as a celebrity not only with his football skills, but also by aligning his brand with fashion, royalty lifestyle, pop stars and designers.

“His football, his experience dealing with the media, his very sexy image all adds up to a killer brand,” says Interbrand’s Rita Clifton.

Celebrity brands exist all around the world in all different types of entertainment from sports to television to movies. Some popular celebrity brands that Team Beckham can be use as prototypes to are as follows:

• Oprah Winfrey has created her own brand and built upon it to become one of the richest women in the United States, worth an estimated $1 billion in 2005. She is involved in publishing, television and film production. She created O, The Oprah Magazine, co-founded the Oxygen network and established her own company, Harpo Inc. Her show has been number one for the last 18 seasons and is shown in almost every domestic market. Oprah has a major influence on her audience; when she recommends a book, people buy it, when she talks to an expert, people listen (for instance Dr. Phil).
• Jennifer Lopez is the one of the most famous brands in entertainment today. She has launched numerous albums, appeared in multiple films, created her own fashion line and introduced a personal fragrance line. Her fragrance sales were estimated to total $44 million in sales in the first four months of their release. Jennifer Lopez even changed her name to J. Lo as part of her branding campaign.

David Beckham has had major star influence throughout Europe and Asia while he was on Manchester United and Real Madrid. Provided below is some research on his celebrity branding success and the status of Major League Soccer upon his entrance.

Success in Europe:
• Furthered the popularity of United in countries such as Singapore, Thailand, Indonesia and Brunei by setting up stores and contests focused around the club.
• While part of Real, the club made $600 million in marketing and commercial activities, an increase of 137 percent in profit.

Beckham’s popularity:
• According to Google Trends analysis of Google searches, in 2003 and 2004 Beckham was the most searched of all sports topics.
• “David Beckham” was a more popular Internet search term in Indonesian, Norwegian, Hungarian, Turkish, Danish, Swedish and Spanish than it was in English in 2006.
• A 2006 University of Bath study showed English 7- to 11-year-olds were more interested in the soccer star than in clothes and toys. The study also suggested that the superstar is helping the seven-year-olds learn about right and wrong.
• Each year, David Beckham fans buy more than 300,000 adidas replica jerseys and sales go way beyond jerseys to include everything from soccer shoes to street clothes.
• A polling of Americans done by Davie Brown Entertainment found that 51.9 percent of Americans know who Beckham is, while only 9.1 percent of Americans know of Landon Donovan, Beckham’s new teammate who has been in the MLS for six years and has played for the American team in two World Cups.
• David Beckham even inspired a 2002 film titled “Bend it Like Beckham” in which two girls from London attempt to pursue their dreams of playing professional soccer.
• Beckham has also established the David Beckham Academy in London and Los Angeles. The academy offers youth soccer camp for kids ages 8 to 15.

Soccer in the United States:
• More than 140 million Americans watched the 2006 FIFA World Cup in Germany, compared to 90 million Americans who watched the 2007 NFL Super Bowl.
• LA Galaxy previously averaged 22,000 to 24,000 fans in its 27,000 seat stadium. Attendance was down last season at the Galaxy games when they missed the playoffs.

Beckham’s popularity in Europe and his celebrity status in America all set the stage for him to expand his brand even further and to push Major League Soccer to a whole new level.

OBJECTIVES

While Americans only have flirted with soccer in the past, they’ve had a long-time love affair with celebrities and media icons. David Beckham clearly qualifies as a celebrity and media icon.
Using his fame, Team Beckham needed to push his celebrity and brand even further into the United States by pairing up with U.S. brand symbols. To make their transition to America a successful one, they had to welcome a blaze of publicity on press tours, photo shoots and even television shows.

The Beckhams’ move to America also included pairing up with other high-powered U.S. celebrities, such as Tom Cruise, Katie Holmes and Will Smith, as well as keeping their best British friends Elton John, Liz Hurley and Hell’s Kitchen Chef Gordon Ramsay.

In order to dominate America, Team Beckham needs to make a cultural impact. In the United States his great soccer skills will not matter as much as his cultural icon status. His objective is to maintain and even further push his brand identity throughout the world. He has conquered Europe and Asia, so his next task will be America. His objective will be to maintain his brand identity across the ocean and even further expand it in the United States. He wants to be a soccer ambassador, so his obvious next step in conquering the world of soccer is the United States.

PROGRAMMING

The soccer star has a gigantic hurdle ahead of him, converting America football, baseball and basketball fans into soccer fanatics. He will use his stardom to increase attendance at Galaxy games and hopefully increase interest in his sport.

Team Beckham used a mix of sponsorships, advertisements, television shows and personal branded items to create a brand campaign for Beckham’s arrival to America. The details of his programming are listed below.

Partnerships:
• Beckham has four blue-chip sponsors signed as far as 2010, which include adidas, Gillette, Motorola and Pepsi.
• He acquired these sponsors while in Europe and they are all worldwide brand, so his move to the United States will not affect that.
• In December, he helped Motorola, Inc. kick off sales of Motorola’s MOTORAZR handset.
• He is an ambassador for the 2012 Olympics in London. Adidas is also a sponsor of the 2012 Olympics; therefore, Beckham did promotional events for them as well.

Promotional - Soccer:
• A 2008 Galaxy tour of Asia, where Beckham is widely popular, is in the works.
• This summer the team’s new logo was revealed along with their partnership with adidas, whose name was placed on their jerseys.
• Beckham partnered with Dick’s Sporting Goods to introduce his newly-designed MLS Adidas David Beckham Replica Jersey. He was interviewed on the Dick’s Sporting Goods Halftime Show during the 2007 Sierra Mist MLS All-Star Game to introduce the jersey that would be available at all Dick’s Sporting Goods.

Television:
• Beckham filmed a one hour documentary for ESPN called “David Beckham: New Beginnings.” It included the family’s preparation to move to the United States, his reflection on his time at Real Madrid, his recall to the England squad and a discussion of his future as an international soccer player and new star of the Galaxy.
• He also launched “David Beckham Soccer USA,” exclusively in the United Kingdom, which features news on his Galaxy games as well as all of the top news from the MLS. The show focuses on a different MLS club each week with player interviews and facts about the teams, as well as Beckham highlights from the week.

Fragrance Line:
• In February, David Beckham introduced a new line of fragrance with Coty Beauty called INSTINCT by David Beckham.
• In August, David and Victoria Beckham introduced their own brand of his-and-hers fragrances called Intimately Beckham.

Advertising:
• Adidas launched an advertising campaign featuring David Beckham and New Orleans Saints running back Reggie Bush swapping sports. The campaign named “Futbol vs. Football,” featured Bush teaching Beckham a few things about American football and sports culture in the United States. Bush attempted to “Bend it like Beckham” and Beckham attempted a record-breaking field goal. The meeting can be viewed at Adidas’ website http://www.futbolmeetsfootball.com.
• Adidas also retaped its “Impossible is Nothing” commercial with David to mark his arrival to the United States. They wanted to make the American audience understand his soccer past, which includes his famous red card disqualification at the 1998 World Cup.

Victoria Beckham:
• NBC aired a documentary called “Victoria Beckham: Coming to America,” which recorded her move to Los Angeles. However, the planned six-part reality series was cut to just a one hour special.
• She recently announced that she will be part of a Spice Girls reunion tour this winter.
• She will also appear on an episode of ABC’s comedy “Ugly Betty” this fall.
• In the spring 2007, Victoria announced the release of her own line of sunglasses. It was launched as part of her DVB brand, which previously introduced a denim line.
• She released her book, “That Extra Half an Inch,” in early September. The book is “an accessible usable and desirable book about fashion, beauty and style.”

Galaxy president Alexi Lalas stated that they didn’t want to saturate and duplicate publicity when it’s not necessary, so there is a specific Los Angeles, regional, national and international based platform with a combination of the Galaxy, MLS, Adidas and ESPN to target different areas.

MEDIA

Website
David Beckham’s official website, www.davidbeckham.com, keeps fans up to date on all the latest news in his life. Current issues regarding David Beckham and his brand are always posted on the website. The section lists recent events, such as interviews, scheduled television appearances, injury reports and game recaps.

The most current issues and hot topics relating to Brand Beckham are his hologram appearance to mark adidas’ announcement as an official sponsor of the 2012 Olympics, his weekly show in the United Kingdom called “David Beckham Soccer USA” and of course his recent knee injury on August 29.

The website gives a brief description about his appearances and weekly updates about what to expect on the television show. As for his injury, the website only lists that he suffered from a medial ligament sprain to his knee, the same injury he suffered from in February while playing for Real Madrid. Besides this update on his injury status and a brief quote from Beckham, the website does not refer to the issue in any more detail.

The website attempts to redirect fans’ interest in other things to continue to put the sports star in the spotlight without focusing on his injury. They realize his brand is much about his soccer and they need to do everything to push the different aspects of his life while he is injured and out of play. In order to do this, the website constantly promotes his fame week after week by updating the site about his television show, interviews and appearances at his soccer academy in Los Angeles.

Newspapers
David Beckham has been in the papers since the beginning of his soccer career. He is constantly in the spotlight, whether it be for his soccer skills, good looks, multiple hairstyles, sponsors or celebrity gossip.

Since his recent move to Los Angeles, David and Victoria have frequently been in the news. After the hype from his move lessened, he was still in the paper because of issues about his appeal to certain ethnic groups, his time of play, criticism over his ankle injury, his sprained knee and his father’s recent hospitalization. There was a lot of buzz during the month of August when Beckham had seldom appearances in games due to his ankle injury and then was sidelined because of an injured knee.

Early Criticism:
• In an August Los Angeles Times article, Beckham received some criticism about being unable to reach fans in the Latino community of Los Angeles. The MLS wants to attract the huge population of Latino fans, but most believe that an English player won’t attract the Latino fans. The Latinos want to see someone from their background.
• One 9-year-old Chivas USA fan even suggested that the players kick Beckham in the crotch at their upcoming match-up.
• However, most Latino fans interviewed believe fans will warm up to Beckham eventually, especially once he gets over his then recent ankle injury.

Introduction to the MLS:
• Beckham’s debut was in an exhibition game against Chelsea on July 21. He only played 16 minutes and then sat out the next four games because of his ankle injury, which of course disappointed many ticket buyers in a number of cities.
• Beckham made his Major League Soccer debut on August 9. A Washington Times article said that he came off the bench in the 72nd minute at RFK Stadium, home of the LA Galaxy. Beckham proved to be little help to the team, who lost 1-0 to D.C. United.

Ankle Injury:
• Beckham sprained his ankle in June and then further ripped the ligaments after he played on his injured ankle in his last Real Madrid game in which they won the league title.
• Fans were happy to see his MLS debut, but after playing only a portion of the game his ankle flared up and he stayed on the bench during the following Sunday’s game.
• Associated Press began a story with “English megastar David Beckham resumed his tour of American soccer benches on Sunday…”
• An Aug. 14 Los Angeles Times article stated the team or Beckham himself would not announce how serious the injury was. The team resented the criticism he was receiving because they knew how hard he was working to overcome the injury. They said he was more frustrated than any fan; he really wanted to be playing.
• In the same article, the team also stated they were fully aware of his injury before he came to the Galaxy. They were given X-rays and the full details of the injury, so there were no surprises. They knew the situation they were getting into.
• Boston Globe columnist John Powers said that “Beckham has done what he was brought in to do, which is to create buzz outside of the sport.” And that’s what he did.

First Goal:
• In an Aug. 16 Los Angeles Times article, all of his previous criticism was erased with one swing of his leg. Beckham made his first MLS goal, along with his first start for the Galaxy. He also provided an assist for Landon Donovan, who scored the second goal of the night, and eventually defeated D.C. United 2-0.

Knee Injury:
• An Aug. 31 Los Angeles Times article announced that Beckham sprained his knee and was probably done for the season. He suffered a sprained medial collateral ligament in his right knee during his Aug. 29 Galaxy game.
• Beckham has missed all eight September games and will probably miss all four October MLS match-ups.
• It appears unlikely that he will return for the last two or three Galaxy matches at the end of the season.
• He also missed the two Euro 2008 qualifying games in September and will possibly miss two more in October.
• Exhibition matches have been planned with Beckham in Canada and Australia. If he can’t play, most teams are requesting to reschedule at a later date when he is healthy or possibly will refund tickets.

Later Criticism:
• A Sept. 1 Los Angeles Times article titled “Bench it like Beckham” noted some criticisms about his recent injury. It stated the injured sports star will test the patience of American fans, who may have to wait until next season to see some real bending tricks from Beckham.
• Another LA Times article read “Party’s Over for Beckham.”
• A CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell wrote an article titled “David Beckham: One Goal and Done?” saying he was “tired of all the hype, all the misinformed people who said Beckham could turn soccer into the next big thing.”

End of Season Play:
• In a Sept. 19 Dominion Post, a newspaper out of New Zealand, Beckham was reported set to play in the Dec. 2 game against the Wellington Phoenix. The City Council is predicting his visit will bring in $6 million in spending to the city. Although ticket prices have not yet been disclosed, Wellington mayor believes they will be getting a $20 return for every dollar invested. Beckham would be required to play 55 minutes in the match-up. If Beckham is still injured the game would be rescheduled.
• Beckham is bringing his popularity to Australia once he recovers from his knee injury. A Sept. 30 article in The Sun Herald, a Sydney newspaper, reported that Beckham is expected to play in Sydney on Nov. 27. The match will be cancelled or switched to another date if Beckham is unavailable to play. The game has already created a lot of hype, with only 3,000 tickets remaining.

Recent News:
• David Beckham’s father recently suffered from a heart attack. A Sept. 28 Western Mail article stated that David rushed back to England after news of his father’s, Ted Beckham, heart attack.
• Beckham and his father fell out of touch two years ago after Ted Beckham published the book “David Beckham: My Son,” without receiving prior permission from David to write it. They were said to have reconciled earlier this year.
• An Oct. 8 Times of India article stated Beckham decided to buy a house and apartment for his dad in California. The homes are said to be a peace offering to mend the rift between the two. His father has been recuperating at David’s Los Angeles home since his heart attack.
• According to an Oct. 3 Associated Press article, Beckham returned to practice with the LA Galaxy. He was able to kick the ball around and go through a few drills with the team for the first time in more than a month. The Galaxy coach said, “We’ve got to see how he reacts to what he did today. We want to make sure he’s 100 percent. That’s the wise thing to do.”
• An Oct. 6 Los Angeles Time article stated that Beckham is expected to return to the Galaxy the week of Oct. 13. Galaxy president Alexi Lalas said he is hopeful he will play in the next two home games, dated for Oct. 13 and Oct. 18.

Press Releases
Since Team Beckham moved to Los Angeles, PR Newswire has posted different stories about his career, sponsors and anything to do with his brand.

Fragrance Line:
• A Feb. 9 release mentioned the introduction of Instinct, a new fragrance by himself and Coty Beauty. The release gives a full description of the scent and the packaging of the fragrance.
• When this product was introduced it was in all of the newspapers, but it wasn’t the same press release from PR Newswire. Most papers hyped up the introduction of the fragrance and gave more power to his brand.
• A Sept. 26 release announced the new fragrance, Intimately Beckham, by Victoria and David Beckham was off to a strong start in the consumer market.
• This fragrance launch was also announced in a release on 19 Entertainment, Beckham’s agency. It stated that the two launched “his and her” fragrances and gave a brief description of their entire product line. These releases were in multiple newspapers in the United States and Europe. It was especially known for the sultry, semi-pornographic pictures to promote the product.

Advertising:
• A June 25 press release announced David Beckham and Reggie Bush’s challenge to switch sports for a day. As mentioned previously, the two men swapped sports for a day and learned skills from their opponent.
• This was covered in a number of papers and given a fairly positive image. In most articles, there was not a full length description of the meeting between the two, but a brief synopsis of the meeting.

Partnerships:
• Beckham’s partnership with Dick’s Sporting Goods and Motorola, Inc., described earlier, were released on PR Newswire as well. There was not much information in newspapers about either of the partnerships.
• Beckham’s collaboration with adidas and Pepsi to create a “Win a Day in the Life of David Beckham” contest was announced in a Sept. 4 PR Newswire release. The campaign includes repositioning Pepsi cans to feature adidas’s continuing campaign of “Impossible is Nothing” athletes. Upon visiting the site fans can create their own “Impossible is Nothing” story along with entering for a chance to win adidas products or spend a day in the life of David Beckham. There wasn’t much information about this promotion in the newspapers.

Major League Soccer:
• An Aug. 30 PR Newswire Europe release explained that the Major League Soccer website attracted over one million visitors in July 2007, a 117 percent raise from the year before. They attributed the visitor growth to David Beckham’s arrival to the Galaxy.
• Immediately after his announcement of his move to the United States, website traffic rose 252 percent month-on-month. This release was mentioned briefly in a few papers referring to Beckham’s impact on Major League Soccer since his arrival.

Victoria Beckham:
• A release about the introduction of her new fashion line was posted on 19 Entertainment’s website. It announced an exclusive range of sunglasses, which were launched with her DVB brand. Her new brand was widely publicized in newspaper and fashion magazines in the United States and London.
• A March 5 release announced the confirmation of her television show for the United States. As previously mentioned, “Victoria Beckham Coming to America” was announced to be aired on NBC during July 2007 for six half-hour shows; however, it was cut back to a one hour special. This was widely publicized in newspapers as one of the Beckham’s landmarks to their arrival in America.
• Another press release posted on 19 Entertainment’s website announced Victoria Beckham’s publication of her new book “That Extra Half an Inch.” The announcement of this book was widely publicized in the papers. It was often mentioned with Victoria’s other publicity, such as her possibility of reuniting with the Spice Girls.

Most of the media coverage has to do with press releases sent out and distributed on the newswires. However, there is even more media coverage of the Beckhams than what is sent out in press releases. David Beckham is one of the most famous names and faces in sports and his wife is one of the most famous faces in entertainment, so it isn’t difficult for them to get media coverage. Although they get lots of media coverage, it sometimes comes with negative press. They are often criticized in the media for the over branding and over expansion or just simply because people like to criticize celebrities for anything they do. Overall, most of the Beckhams’ press is good press and most of the media coverage pushes expansion of The Beckham Brand.

EVALUATION

Beckhamania has spread across the United States upon his transition from football to soccer. The MLS and the Galaxy have already had major returns on their Beckham investment since July. Soccer, which falls behind baseball, football, basketball and hockey in the United States, has sparked interest all over the country and the world.

The effect of his signing was felt immediately. On Jan. 11, the day of his signing, the Galaxy sold 1,000 new season tickets, their season began April 8.

Sales of Galaxy merchandise, mostly Beckham jerseys, have risen an unfathomable 700 percent. League-wide merchandise has risen 300 percent since his signing to the Los Angeles team. Initial sales of his jersey topped 250,000 and have been increasing since.

Vice president of brand marketing for adidas America, Stephen Pierpoint, says he has seen success of AC Milan and Real Madrid jerseys in America, but now is the first time they are seeing a global demand for the LA Galaxy jerseys.

Fans in 10 different countries bought 212,000 LA Galaxy Beckham jerseys, English fans are buying MLS shirts in large numbers for the first times and Galaxy website visits have jumped 117 percent. Without a doubt, he is turning soccer into a global sport.

The Galaxy sold out Beckham’s premier game in their 27,000 seat stadium on July 21 in an exhibition match against Chelsea and has seen a few more since his start. He also grabbed the attention of 66,237 fans at New Jersey’s Giant Stadium in his first Major League Soccer start.

His top partners listed on his website include adidas, Motorola, Pepsi and Coty. He is listed as a Global Brand Ambassador for Motorola and a Brand Ambassador for Pepsi. He was also appointed UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador and an ambassador for London’s bid for the 2012 Olympics.

Although Beckham’s brand has been selling well with the soccer fans, he may not have had as smooth of a transition for all of America. The soccer star and his wife have been seen as “damaged goods” by some of Hollywood. Between David’s sprained knee and Victoria’s not so hit reality TV show, the couple is seen as somewhat desperate to fit in. David and Victoria were also listed in “The Overrated 100” edition of The Hollywood Reporter magazine, listing over-hyped people, places and things including Brad Pitt, China and cupcakes.

PROFESSIONAL OPINION

Brian Sternberg, Director of Marketing and Advertising for the athletic department at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas and former Director of Public Relations at the Philadelphia Soul, commented on Beckham’s success as a brand.

“I believe his brand is actually more powerful than what everyone imagined that it could be,” he said about David Beckham’s brand transitioning from the United Kingdom to the United States. “He single handedly created an interest for a sport in a country that usually is the last sport on anyone’s mind. He packed stadiums by the thousands and created a viewship that could only generate a new audience.”

When asked to compare his success to other celebrity brands Sternberg said: “At this point, David Beckham is in a league of his own when it comes to celebrity brands. The only person in the world who could have compared to him was Michael Jordan and since he has retired, he has faded away a bit. Beckham is treated like no other sports figure at this point in time. He has been placed on a pedestal out of reach for any other athlete.”

Sternberg concluded his thoughts on the Beckham brand with a statement about Beckham maintaining his celebrity brand status saying: “I definitely feel he is going to remain a celebrity brand in the world, not just in the U.S. I feel the way he is going to do it is by following the prototype Michael Jordan has set in place. Jordan has stayed in the public eye by working along with Nike in building the ‘Jordan Brand’ clothing line. He has also stayed in the field of basketball as an owner of a team, done commercials and several other things. The only major difference, Jordan has only done it in the U.S. that I can see. Beckham is from England, trying to continue the buzz around the world.”

PERSONAL OPINION

The Beckham brand is a perfect example of celebrity branding which public relations professionals can look to for guidance. He has done everything imaginable to get his brand to the point it is at today. Between his good looks, numerous sponsors, fragrance line, celebrity wife and fantastic athletic abilities, David Beckham has become The Beckham Brand.

In order to become a celebrity brand, the person must have talent or skill plus the power to sell his brand beyond his normal skill set. Beckham was able to do just this. He became famous because of his soccer abilities, but he expanded his brand by becoming an endorser of all different types of products, creating his own line of fragrances and starring in his own television show.

Beckham did not start out as an actor or a designer; he developed these skill sets beyond his normal soccer abilities in order to create his brand. This was his unique strategy which pushed him further than he could have ever gone with just soccer.

Tiger Woods has faced similar branding issues and strategies throughout his career. As one of the most famous faces in sports across the United States, Woods has transformed his magnificent golf career into a branding goldmine.

Woods is worth $650 million alone to Nike. In 1996 Woods signed to endorse the company, mostly for apparel. After the creation of Nike Golf in 2000, Woods began playing with a Nike ball and switched to Nike clubs. Other companies Woods has brought in millions of dollars through endorsements include Buick, EA Sports, American Express, Accenture and Tag Heuer.

Tiger Woods and David Beckham are both famous sports stars who turned their athletic abilities into major brands. Both men have turned their stardom into endorsement opportunities, promoting some of the most famous companies across the world. Both have an apparel sponsor, Nike for Woods and adidas for Beckham. You can’t catch either sportsman in apparel other than their respective sponsor’s clothing. Woods even wears his Nike apparel when endorsing for other companies such as American Express and Accenture.

Both Woods and Beckham don’t only appeal to ordinary citizens because of their athletic abilities and branding power, but because of their personal lives as well. Beckham’s fans, as discussed early, are obsessed with his good looks, hairstyles, wealthy lifestyle and celebrity wife. Woods’ fans are intrigued by his emotional side and desire to keep his personal life personal. Fans of the golfer made emotional connections with him upon the death of his father. His appeal increased when he had his first child. Although he wanted to keep things private by not immediately releasing pictures of the baby, he knew it was important to involve the fans in this wonderful event in his life and eventually he publicized a few photographs.

The two have boosted their brand power by not only excelling in their sports, but endorsing products for well-known companies. Although their personal lives appeal to people for different reasons, they both know how to capitalize on their strengths, abilities and talent.

Like Brian Sternberg mentioned in a previous quote, Beckham may be comparable to athletes such as Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan, but he is the only one that has taken his brand internationally and has been successful. Beckham has done promotional events in England, Japan and the United States. He has also used his popularity and talent to transition a sport that had little fan base in the United States into a growing and well-respected sport. Beckham’s brand has been hugely successful in Europe and it is constantly growing in the United States, no one can deny he made great success revolutionizing his talent into a premier brand athlete. He is seen throughout the world as an athlete, a celebrity, a brand, The Beckham Brand.

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