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Is anyone in tonight's Super Bowl marketable?

Just as broadcasters and columnists have been bashing tonight’s Arizona Cardinals-Pittsburgh Steelers matchup in Super Bowl XLIII in Tampa, veteran sports marketing expert Bob Dorfman isn’t seeing a lot of Madison Avenue power in the players either.

In his annual Super Bowl Sports Marketers’ Scouting Report, Dorfman, who is executive vice president at San Francisco’s Baker Street Advertising, puts only Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger in the “touchdown” category of marketability.

“Though he lacks Peyton Manning’s charm and Tom Brady’s glam, Big Ben has a rugged, blue-collar appeal that matches well with any product that gets a tough job done without a lot of flash or hoopla—like power tools, trucks, deodorants, or cold and flu remedies,” Dorfman wrote.

Excedrin or Advil since he recently suffered a concussion, Dorfman suggests.

“And though a “Roethlis-burger” has been served in various Pittsburgh area joints, it may be time to take it national via McDonald’s or Burger King. In just his fifth year in the NFL, there’s no ceiling on Big Ben’s football—and marketing—future,” Dorfman said.

He gives “field goal” status to Cardinals QB quarterback Kurt Warner; Steelers safety Troy Polamalu and Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald.

“Warner’s rags-to-riches story—from supermarket to Super Bowl—would make a fine biopic, his large family would fit well in a minivan campaign, and his good looks could work handsomely for any men’s grooming product,” Dorfman wrote. “At 37, he may not be the best choice to appeal to the coveted “male 18-34” demographic, but for more mature audiences, Warner could be an effective pitchman—especially if he can lead his Cardinals to an upset win on Super Sunday.”

If you’ve been following the pre-Super Bowl advertising hype, you already know that Polamalu is featured in a Coke Zero remake – of sorts – of Coke’s famous Mean Joe Greene spot to air during the big game. Yes, the spot was made long before it was known Polamalu would be playing in the game.

“Intense on the field, soft-spoken off, Troy’s trademark flowing locks belong in a Pert shampoo ad. And the way he flies all over the field could qualify him for an American Airlines commercial, or a Dodge “Ram Tough” truck ad,” Dorfman said.

And then he asks, “And wouldn’t you love to see Polamalu and Larry Fitzgerald together in an ad, getting hairstyle makeovers from Paul Mitchell?”

More hair spots for Fitzgerald, Dorfman says. “Fitzgerald’s signature dreads could make a compelling hair care demo, his great smile could sell Crest toothpaste, and his good hands could score big for Allstate. T-Mobile might even consider replacing Charles Barkley with Fitzgerald in their “Fave 5” campaign. How about a spot with T.O. trying to make it onto Larry’s shortlist?”

Categories: Advertising (79), NFL (178), Super Bowl (53)

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About the author
CRAIG DAVIS In more than 33 years at the Sun Sentinel, Craig Davis has written about a wide variety of sports topics from baseball to yachting, fishing to triathlons, and also worked as a copy editor and page designer. Recently he reported on local sports, including running, swimming, cycling, equestrian and beach volleyball. He enjoys sports as a participant as well as a spectator, is active in the South Florida running scene plays in the curling club at Saveology Iceplex. This blog offers a glimpse at the business side of sports in the interest of enhancing enjoyment of the games and sporting options as a spectator as well as a participant.
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