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- Tom Daley Lives His Style As Face Of Adidas NEO - 17 February, 2014
The Olympic athlete endorsement is nothing new. These lucrative deals with companies allow athletes to elevate their image beyond the realm of sports and tap into the collective conscious of the public by marketing themselves commercially (read: $$$$). Brands gain the positive association between their product and an esteemed name in the field (no pun intended) of sports.
Many athletes have elected to represent brands, such as swimmer Michael Phelps for Speedo and Under Armour, and runner Sanya Richards-Ross for Nike. Tennis superstar Maria Sharapova has leveraged brand ambassadorship to become known for her celebrity almost as much as her sick serve on the court (Forbes pegs her as earning over $18 million a year from endorsements).
Most of these partnerships leverage the “extreme sports” aspect of athletes to sell their product (cut to Jamaican olympian Usain Bolt huffing and puffing, sweating as he sprints in a Gatorade video). But the sports industry is seeing another type of branding emerging in partnerships: going straight for the celebrity association as opposed to leveraging the athlete’s specific sport or skill.
Cut to Tom Daley for adidas NEO. This strategic partnership focuses on Tom Daley’s status as a celebrity and fun-loving young adult, rather than his prowess at Olympic Diving. Even more impelling is the fact that Tom Daley is openly in a relationship with another man. This tie-in with the LGBT community is paramount to exposure for members of the community that intersect with the world of sports.
The adidas NEO “Live Your Style” campaign, for the brand’s fashion line aimed at teenagers, shows Tom Daley in a light not typical of athlete representation: as a typical young adult as opposed to a hardcore athlete. Hey, athletes can be kids at heart too! The collection is comprised of clothing, footwear and accessories in many prints and colors. “It’s great to be working with adidas on their NEO label,” Daley commented. “The jumper I wore for the NEO shoot is one of my favourites at the moment. It’s a twist on a standard jumper and it’s exactly what I like to throw on after training with a pair of jeans.”
His placement in the campaign follows successful partnerships for NEO such as Selena Gomez, a musician. Tom Daley will bring a fresh look to the label as both a man and an athlete. “It’s great to be working with the adidas NEO Label, a brand for teens with stylish and easy to wear looks–perfect for living your style,” he says.
It’s great that adidas chose an athlete who is proud about his sexual fluidity, and the fact that the brand is geared toward the younger generation will hopefully have an impact on the attitudes of youth towards their LGBT peers.
Cheers to Tom Daley and adidas for teaming up in such a great way. Certainly, beyond the benefits for the young athlete and the brand, this partnership should serve to increase the visibility for members of the LGBT community who come from all walks of life.