September 29, 2023

Digital Marketing Education

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Coach Prime and the Sanders Family Are On the Menu

Not every athlete is an entertainer, but Deion Sanders has always been both, and his flashy brand of bravado is made for today’s media culture.

Sanders, a.k.a. Neon Deion, a.k.a. Coach Prime, is a sensation on the sideline, in the announcer’s booth, in the locker room, in a new Amazon Prime series, in his oldest son’s collection of made-for-social-media videos, in several new SI articles, on 60 Minutes, and in a bunch of new commercials from KFC.

Let’s look at the commercials.

Is this good advertising? It is for Coach Prime. But is it also good advertising for KFC? I think it is. Most celebrities lack any real connections to the brands they endorse and that’s not the case here.

“KFC has been a lunch and dinnertime go-to for the Sanders family since I was a kid, and my kids loved this tradition as well,” said Coach Prime.

Almonds and Insurance Also Get Primed

Coach Prime is also pitching the health benefits of California Almonds. The “Own Your Prime” campaign was informed by research from Appalachian State University, showing how almonds aid in muscle recovery.

Brands are lining up to get some of Coach Prime’s action. “Investing in Coach Prime is the greatest marketing investment I’ve ever made in 20 years,” Aflac chief marketing officer Garth Knutson told USA TODAY Sports.

It’s interesting to me how the Aflac commercials put Coach Prime on equal footing with Nick Saban, even though Prime has just two years of college coaching experience. Celebrity is a powerful equalizer.

Will Prime ever equal the Alabama legend’s achievements on the field of play? Time will tell, but he did go 27-6 at Jackson State and he’s off to a great start at Colorado with big wins over TCU and Nebraska.


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