While cruising in the car one beautiful day in Phoenix, I noticed a billboard that The Coca-Cola Company had paid to put up somewhere on Indian School rd. The advertisement portrayed LeBron James in all his glory approaching the rim for a slam dunk from the lower right corner of the enormous rectangle. The Sprite brand was clearly located on the left. It just so happened to be that I was parched at the time yet was not inclined to obey my thirst, with Sprite at least anyway. Sprite happens to be my favorite soda but I was turned off by the appeal that the company was making.
Now let it be clear, my goal is not to endorse the product or disapprove of the product, but analyze the advertising strategy and start a discussion on how this celebrity endorsement affects consumer attitude.
In an emotional appeal, a young fan of this great athlete may recognize that Sprite and King James are in such good public standing with one another. This consumer just may happen to be a middle school boy whose favorite hobby is watching basketball, and who happens to be 35 pounds overweight. He may decide to be just like his idol and buy a Sprite at the next gas station, or maybe subconsciously later in the week, or maybe even at every sporting event he attends for the rest of the year. Logically speaking, it would not be healthy for LeBron James to drink Sprite at basketball games when he is sweating profusely and looking to re-hydrate his body. James’ nutritionist is probably also paid a gigantic salary and would probably not be too happy if he decided to. While analyzing the emotional and logical appeals to this advertisement it seems as though a consumer who purchased the product after viewing the ad is being deceived into the bandwagon concept of “everyone is drinking it, even your favorite athlete, so you should too”.
This advertising tactic is so ancient that it grew a beard back in the 90s. With millions of dollars at the disposal of these corporations, they decide to spend it in a traditional sense rather than implement a creative new way to reach out to their publics. With Americans being notoriously unhealthy, this choice of athlete endorsement is hardly a display of corporate social responsibility.