Today's Globe & Mail has a story about hockey phenom Sidney Crosby and his relationship with Gatorade Canada. The article talks about how Crosby is now the most expensive active hockey player in the endorsement game. Gatorade signed him to a deal, along with the likes of Reebok (now owned by Adidas), before he played a single game. Crosby has two more games in his rookie season and is three points away from 100. The 60-second Gatorade commercial, which apparently debuted in movie theatres first, hits television sets in Canada today.
This is how the newspaper describes the spot: "(It) shows Mr. Crosby throwing his stick into a pile to join a game of street hockey. As word gets out, dozens of others flock to the street for a chance to play with the NHL star, and the pile of hockey sticks grows into a small mountain."
It's a great coup for Gatorade to have Crosby and if he gets big enough, they might just have to extend his contract to make it a North American deal. According to an article in a publication called Strategy Magazine, Gatorade Canada's marketing manager Jeff Jackett had been following Crosby from Dec. 2003 until he signed him in March 2005. They even interviewed people in his hometown of Cole Harbour, Nova Scotia, to find out more about his personality. "(Jackett helped) people (internally) understand the significance of signing Crosby using the Jordan analogy," said his boss marketing director Derek Estabrook.
The story in Strategy actually mirrors a story I heard about cutouts of Jordan, which were stolen from stores. Crosby's cutouts were also stolen and sold for as much as $135 on eBay.
In the Globe and Mail piece, Jackett is obviously ecstatic with the signing of Crosby.
"He's priming himself to be the next great pitchman in the game," Jackett said. "It's something that he's seemingly been ready to do for quite some time. There's just something about him that the public seems to love...It seemed character-wise, he was very solid and came from a good home and upbringing. These things are very important when it comes to choosing your athlete."
Said Crosby: "I don't think I'm a natural actor by any means. I don't have the skills for stuff like that, but I try my best."