#Hashtag of the Week 4

Michael-Jordan-Championship-RingsThis week’s trending topic is #MJ50.  If you’re wondering what on earth that stands for, it means Michael Jordan’s turning 50 today!  Happy birthday, Michael Jordan!  Not only is Mr Jordan by consensus the greatest basketball player of all time, he is also one of the most successful celebrity endorsers, and the inspiration (as @bostonkid17 on Twitter put it) for the “greatest sneaker ever made.”

Michael Jordan’s talent and global fame combined to lift basketball’s international popularity.  His participation along with Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and other big stars on the 1992 Olympic “Dream Team” further helped to make it one of the world’s favorite sports.  But more than bringing basketball to new heights, Jordan’s personal image as the world’s greatest player made him an incredibly popular figure throughout the 90s, and therefore a magnet for celebrity endorsement.

Marketers dream of a celebrity endorser like Michael Jordan.  Nike hit the jackpot when they created the Air Jordan sneaker which eventually led to the spinoff Jordan Brand, which in 2010 made $1 billion in sales for Nike.  He has represented brands like Coca-Cola, McDonald’s, Chevrolet and Gatorade, and as a result is constantly on Forbes’ top 100 celebrities list.  With such success as this, it’s no wonder that celebrities are always looking for endorsement deals and brands are willing to pay big bucks for them.

But I think we should give Mr Jordan his due.  Do we really think that any celebrity today, be they Lady Gaga or Tiger Woods (whoops!) holds a candle to what Michael Jordan has done for the brands he represents?  Really, to me they are all just following in his footsteps, trying to be as successful as he has been in maintaining an equilibrium between his personal image and his brand (for, after all, there is no better example of a personal brand than Michael Jordan’s).

Today, we are inundated with celebrity endorsements.  I learned on TV yesterday, for instance, that Rafael Nadal apparently plays online poker!  Who knew?  And while stars had been lending their clout to marketing ventures long before Michael Jordan came along, I would argue that he did it biggest and he did it best.  He has set the bar for profit-making celebrity endorsement, and brands who don’t have him are still looking for their own “Michael Jordan.”

So for being the most bad-ass godfather of celebrity endorsement, I congratulate you Mr Jordan!  Here’s wishing you a very happy birthday.




The Brain In Jane works mainly in the rain. It's always raining somewhere. Find me on Twitter, Google+, and Pinterest.

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