The Serious Faux Pas: Athletes

In today’s segment of our Serious Faux Pas series, we’re looking at the modern misstep of athletes who take themselves too seriously and how the age of the hyped up self-aggrandizing sports icon has ended.
 

Growing up, Xers (and older Millennials) had a transcendent sports icon to look up to: the great and powerful Michael Jordan. Jordan gave rise to the idea of the icon athlete as an endorser, and even recently was called “the endorsement king of all ages” by Forbes. Almost all of his endorsements celebrated his prowess as an athlete. At the height of his stardom, kids across America were inundated with the call to “be like Mike” thanks to his Gatorade commercials. He was someone to aspire to become, but always maintained a safe distance from his fans and teammates—an untouchable hero. ESPN has called him “the archetype of the hero athlete and the living embodiment of success.” Jordan took himself seriously, was not humble, and didn’t mind coming off as arrogant and self-aggrandizing. In his Hall of Fame induction speech, he infamously ran through a list of all the individuals who had not believed in him or held him back in some way by name to emphasize how much he had succeeded despite them. 

But a serious shift has occurred since the age of Jordan and the athlete hero-on-a-pedestal. Millennials aren’t looking for hero athletes, but athletes who can joke, banter, and create irreverent material— even at their own expense. Sports stars today who commit the Serious Faux Pas risk having their fan bases turn on them. That lesson was exemplified in the aftermath of the publicity circus surrounding LeBron James' decision to join the Miami Heat. After he and his marketing team created a television special to announce "The Decision," fans vilified him, and it has taken years to rebuild his…

 
 

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The Newsfeed

“I want to work for myself so that I can have more flexibility and be my own boss. I have an online business.”
—Female, 16, FL

Fast fashion is only getting faster as Asos & Boohoo outpace industry front-runners, Zara and H&M, moving clothes from concept to sales floor in less than four weeks. These up and comers’ fast paced supply chains, coupled with millennial-minded tactics and strong social media presences, are driving a 30-35% expected sales growth for Asos and 50% for Boohoo. A major contributor to Boohoo’s profit margin is its army of celebrities, bloggers, and other influencers who promote its clothing across Instagram. Zara and H&M, meanwhile, saw slowing YOY sales growth; H&M has admitted its need to speed up and announced plans to change its supply chain accordingly. (QuartzThe Guardian)

A new Doritos bag will be loaded with the entire Guardians of the Galaxy 2 soundtrack, via a built-in cassette player. A limited number of the “Awesome Mix” soundtrack bags will be available on Amazon tomorrow, and influencers will be activated to take the bag to surprising locales and sing a song of their choice. Fans will also be invited to go to custom pop-up recording booths, record their track, and upload it to social media for a chance to win prizes. Thanks to social media posts and unboxing trends, packaging has the potential to become a spotlight stealer, and brands are thinking outside the box to make packaging as interesting as the product. (Creativity)

Apple wants to be Gen Z’s Starbucks. The brand is reimagining stores to encourage teen hang out sessions, rebranding the Genius Bar as the Genius Grove, and aptly adding some foliage to the space. The start of a series of educational sessions next month will also bring in photographers, artists, and musicians to teach lessons and in some cases, perform concerts. Apple’s head of retail says of the effort: “I’ll know we’ve done a really, really great job if the next generation, if Gen Z says, ‘Meet me at Apple. Did you see what’s going on at Apple today?’” Ypulse’s Experiencification trend explored the fact that more retailers are looking to turn stores into social spaces to attract young shoppers. (QuartzApple)

Coachella has become a profit powerhouse, with earnings of $94 million last year, and nearly half of all attendees are 18-34-years-old. Brands have been looking for any way to activate their spending power through the event—including influencer marketing, which reportedly earns an estimated $6.50 for every $1 spent. This year, American Express became the first official credit card of the prodigious festival, using influencers to spread their message on-site instead of signage and “overt product messaging.” One AMEX executive emphasizes, “You can’t deny the power and reach of influencers today.”(Forbes)

Mars’ new ad has gone viral with Gen Z, thanks to the power of online celebrities. The video, promoting popular U.K. candy bar Maltesers as it launches in the U.S, features social media and YouTube stars Caspar Lee, Andrew Huang, and Dytto and has earned almost 2.8 million views in the last few weeks. The campaign encourages positivity in the face of typical “teen crises” as the influencers are shown turning #FML moments into “Fun Maltesers Life” moments. The spot is part of a larger effort, which will include distribution across social media channels, custom content creation with BuzzFeed, and a tour featuring an experiential photo-op, game play zone, and 10 million free samples. (MediaPost)

Quote of the Day: “I don't drink on a typical night, but my choice when I do have a drink is often red wine.”

—Female, 34, FL

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