Cam Newton has been having a rough few days. The NFL MVP’s Carolina Panthers lost in the Super Bowl to the Denver Broncos, he has been criticized for not going after a fumble in the waning moments of the game, and he had a less than ideal press conference afterward. The people who criticize Cam will argue that this is proof of his lack of class. They’ll say that if Cam can celebrate, dance, dab, and take group photos during the game when he is winning, he should be able to face the music after a loss. Some of those criticisms have merit, and we have seen both sides of criticizing Cam and defending Cam. However, the lasting issue is whether his recent behavior could impact his rising star endorsement power moving forward.
There are two ways to look at this. Cam wasn’t going to make everyone happy. This is almost like Newton’s version of Deflategate. People who hated Cam — as with Tom Brady — had their opinions confirmed when Cam acted like a sore loser. That portion of the consumer population believes in the “right way to play the game.” In their minds, the commercial portrayal was never the real Cam, and honestly, if the endorsement partner was targeting that demographic it was a waste of money and time. Could Cam’s behavior impact his future endorsements? Sure, but it was doubtful fans would see Cam pitching mutual funds or insurance any time soon.
The smart thing for Cam and his endorsement partners to do would be to flip this into a new marketing angle where Cam’s reaction can actually be targeted to his fans and defenders. Remember this:
Cam can continue with his “Show me a good loser and I’ll show you a loser” shtick and creatively fit it into a new marketing plan for Under Armour. That doesn’t mean his lack of remorse for his recent behavior won’t limit future endorsements, but if he uses his persona correctly — which hasn’t changed at all before or after the Super Bowl — he can still be an effective endorsement personality.