One of the most intriguing things about the nature of pop culture and media is that a brand can be successful if the person isn’t successful in their chosen industry.
The reality is that this is now the situation Tim Tebow finds himself in. This good, God-fearing man born to Christian missionaries has been unsuccessful on the football field, yet he can teach marketers a thing or three about how to succeed even when you don’t win.
It’s clear that Tebow wants to play football, but his image has always been about being bigger than football. While building his brand, the world came to know Tebow as a straightlaced, hardworking person and an overall great guy. He was so popular that the New York Jets traded for him without having much of a clue what they planned to do with him.
He didn’t fit, so he moved on to something other than football. But what? Ironically, the most recent iteration of Tebow is that of a wise-cracking, fun-loving 20-something. This brand image comes courtesy of a just-released Super Bowl commercial.
Tebow as a laid back dude who can laugh at himself? Who saw that coming? His friends and teammates, likely, but this is not a side of Tebow that the general public has seen before. Hopefully this will allow Tebow to keep spreading light as one of the good guys. Tim Tebow, a man of faith, is seemingly a hero. Even though he won’t be throwing any touchdowns in the near future, all fans of life should be rooting for him.
The lesson here for brands is to be aware of what the public is saying about you—and when the time is right, connect with it, own it and, if you can, join in on the joke. (And let’s all keep rooting for Tim Tebow.)
Ronn Torossian is one of America’s most prolific and respected public relations experts. Torossian is the founder, president and CEO of 5W Public Relations, one of the 25 largest independent American PR firms.