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Michael Redd “Basketball Star”

February 15, 2010

If you have an ad that features a star and you have to print their name and then say they are a “star”, doesn’t defeat the purpose?  Why spend a ton of money for a “star” who has so little recognition and name status that you have to tell your audience that he’s a “star”?

I often see a Safe Auto Insurance billboard featuring a picture of Michael Redd.  It says by his picture that he’s “Michael Redd Basketball Star”.  Being a basketball fan, I know who Michael Redd is, but I would never recognize him by his picture.  I would bet that the majority of the US population has no idea who Michael Redd is.  I know he played college ball for a Big Ten team and that he is or was on the Milwaukee Bucks in the NBA, but that would be the extent of my Michael Redd knowledge.

So did Safe Auto waste their money by hiring Michael Redd as a spokesman?  My guess is that they did not.  Why?  Because their target audience does know who Michael Redd is.  I have to figure that Safe Auto, or their advertising firm, tested and checked Q scores and found that their target market was familiar with Redd.

Sure, from a practical standpoint, it’s ridiculous to pay a star who is not really one.  That is a waste of money.  But to pay someone who, while not a true star of the Brangelina stratosphere, is a star in a specific community may be very profitable.

In Safe Auto’s case, why pay for Kobe Bryant when you can get a much less expensive Michael Redd and have a similar impact?  It makes sense.

While I had a good laugh at the Michael Redd billboard at first, the more I thought about it, the more I could appreciate it.  The target market was addressed by showing Redd’s image and name.  The rest of us who are just curious about who this Michael Redd is and why he’s on a billboard are provided the answer with the description “Basketball Star”.

Is Redd a star in the truest sense?  Possibly.  While he’s not a megastar like Kobe or LeBron or Shaq who transcend their sport, he’s enough of a star to generate face or name recognizability.  In fact, the more I see his billboard, the more it is ingrained in my mind that Redd is a star.  However, not a star for basketball.  In my mind, he’ll be a “Safe Auto Billboard Star”.

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7 Responses to Michael Redd “Basketball Star”

  1. uberVU - social comments on February 17, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Social comments and analytics for this post…

    This post was mentioned on Twitter by jackodile: My thoughts on star power and advertising. At least regarding Michael Redd and Safe Auto. http://bit.ly/cfAgiz http://bit.ly/agBsj2

  2. Greg on February 17, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    These Safe Auto/Michael Redd commercials look like middle school A/V club projects. Acting, editing, pacing and overall quality is poor. For me this has diminished the brand of both Safe Auto and Michael Redd.

    Still don’t get why Redd was chosen. It’s as if the Safe Auto marketing team simply read somewhere that Redd was a one-time All-Star/Olympic Gold Medalist and signed him without completing any additional research. He’s in a small market, is injured all the time, and doesn’t have a great screen presence. They could have gotten slam dunk “star” Nate Robinson or countless other, better options on the cheap.

    The qua

  3. Jackodile on February 17, 2010 at 3:36 pm

    The first time I saw that billboard I thought Redd was a poor choice, but my conclusion was that Michael Redd is a more recognizable personality to a Safe Auto prospect than to me. My guess is that a Safe Auto prospect is someone with a poor driving record (someone who can’t get more traditional insurance… eg. high risk drivers), and apparently they know and like Michael Redd. I’ve never seen Redd’s Q score, but I have to figure that Safe Auto did their research and he fit the cost to reward requirements as their spokesman.

    Thanks for commenting!

  4. Jon on February 19, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Michael Redd is a graduate of Ohio State University and was a star on the final 4 team in 1999. He has had a stellar professional career, all with the Milwaukee Bucks. SafeAuto did well in choosing Michael Redd as a Spokesman. Michael is from Columbus Ohio and lives there in the off season. He has had a terrific basketball career and more importantly is someone SafeAuto can be proud to associate their brand with. The only other time they used an athlete as a spokesperson was Clark Kellogg of CBS fame. But if you dig a little deeper, you will see that Clark also is an Ohio State Graduate, played professionally for Indiana and lives in Columbus Ohio. The common thread here is that SafeAuto is headquartered in Columbus, Ohio. Home town Clark and Michael both have the kind of values that SafeAuto knows will add value and prestige to their brand in the communities they seek to engage. In todays climate companies like SafeAuto need to be very careful who they allow to represent them. It is always risky business and could ultimately come back and bite you in the rear end. Because of his character, Michael Redd is the perfect fit for SafeAuto and I hope the relationship is helpful to all the parties. There are not enough good guys like Michael Redd so it is good to see him get the face time and used as a spokesman for SafeAuto.

  5. See the World on April 21, 2010 at 3:14 pm

    Bookmarked your blog. Thank you for sharing. Definitely worth the time away from the books.

  6. Casey Desmore on April 30, 2010 at 9:45 pm

    I wish more people would write sites like this that are actually interesting to read. With all the garbage floating around on the web, it is rare to read a site like yours instead.

  7. Finance Modules on May 23, 2010 at 11:07 am

    Super post – and great domain by the way:-)

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