Athletes Endorsing Products

I’ve been doing a lot of mouthing off, so let me ask you all a question: Do you really believe athletes endorse products because they think they're better?

These days, we are privy to nearly every step of the negotiations for endorsement contracts. We know the offers, the counteroffers, what the agents are demanding, what the vendors are willing to spring for. We watched the head of Nike stalk Tiger Woods all over the course during the amateur championships, and we know to the nickel what he’s paying Michael Jordan.

In short, we all know that the athletes simply go to the highest bidder. Nobody even tries to hide it anymore.

So are there people out there who actually believe Tiger Woods played endless rounds of golf with fifty different sets of shoes and clubs before he decided Nike and Titleist were the best? Think he gives a rat’s patoot about American Express or Rolex? (Okay…maybe Rolex)

Let me ask it another way. You’re out shopping for a set of golf clubs, in the belief that new sticks are going to improve your game (more about that elsewhere). You find yourself leaning toward Cobras because you know that Greg Norman endorses them and you’ve seen his face in the ads.

Is this going to incline you to buy the Cobras?

If so, please tell me why. I’m not being facetious here: I really, truly want to try to understand it.

Send me an e-mail at . And be as honest as you can. If you would buy a pair of Nike running shoes because they think it a good idea to pay $30 million to Michael Jordan and Reebok doesn’t, just say so.

Feel free to go a little far afield. If you had a steak last night because Robert Mitchum says, "Beef. It’s what’s for dinner," tell me that, too. Did you switch from Coke to Pepsi because Shaquille O’Neal does ads for them? Let me know.

Just be sure you tell me why, as well as you are able to. But if you don’t know why, then tell me that.

Thanks. I’ll report in a future edition.

Oh, by the way: Greg Norman only carries one Cobra club in his bag.

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