David Beckham – The Marketing Hydra?

Have you ever realized the relation between marketing and the Lernaean Hydra – the legendary figure of the Greek mythology? No? Neither have I.

But then I finally read an interesting article named “The Beckham Marketing Machine Rears Its Ugly Head” on the Internet. I don’t know why, but this exciting title made me immediately think about the Hydra, which inspired me to write this blog entry.

Now let’s find out why David Beckham, one of the most famous sportsmen ever, can be called a “monster”.

The Marketing Machine or When marketing becomes Greed

The article I was talking about starts off by describing a little “Beckham scandal”. Actually RAI tv - the biggest television company in Italy – just asked David Beckham for an interview on television.

So why not being on television? Being in the spotlight is what he knows best, besides soccer of course. But finally another problem appeared. RAI tv usually don’t pay people for giving an interview on television. But does Mr. Beckham show up on television for free. Of course not.

Mr. David Beckham was available at a cut-price €500,000. What a great deal!!! You can imagine the reaction of the Italian television company.

“We can exclude every possibility that Rai would spend that money on anyone, let alone Beckham.”

His brand name is too valuable and Mr. Beckham has to maintain a reputation. But does greed destroy the reputation of a sportsman. It certainly is the case if we look at a company but what about a one-man marketing machine like David Beckham – I will ignore Posh Spice on my blog (sorry about that, Victoria!)

For some companies there exists only one guiding principle which was actually put into words by Gordon Gekko. Watch out this video and you will know what I mean:

“Greed is good. Greed is right. Greed works. Greed clarifies.” Could be, but from my point of view it is not a good strategy for a “Marketing Machine” whose success is based on fairness and respect to show greed in public.

“Is David Beckham bad for soccer?”

That’s one essential question stressed by the author of the article we are talking about. Furthermore he points out his generally negative attitude towards the marketing hype around Beckham. He certainly blames this marketing hype for distracting people from the essential attraction of soccer:

“Spectacular footballers whose greatest qualities still remain on the field”

In my opinion that is more than true. If we look for example at the decision of David Beckham to join AC Milan on loan, every person who has at least watched one football game would not claim that this happened for sporting reasons.

The author is right by asking his audience this question:

“Are you sick of the media hype for a loan signing whose main desired impact is in the team shop? Me too.”

It’s obvious that the interest for this two-months-contract lies in marketing and greed. AC Milan will sell thousands of soccer shirts with Beckham’s number on it. And this happens by means of one single soccer player who will only stay in Milan for two months. And Mr. Beckham will surely gain some money with the help of advertising contracts in Europe. It is so to say a win-win situation for everyone involved. The sport is the only participant who loses.

So what do you think? Is it necessary to decapitate Beckham’s Marketing Hydra? Will “the game […] be better off whenever Beckham decides to retire” as argued by the author?

Feel free to post your opinion here.

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Do running shoes become obsolete?


If you have taken a quick look at my biography you might have noticed that sports always played a main role in my life. That’s why it is no wonder that I’m interested in all industries and sectors related to sports. Since I also have a passion for marketing I finally got the idea to do something in the field of sports marketing after my studies.

In order to get some information about that branch and its trends today I was searching for nifty blogs dealing with that topic. On the website named “BrandNoise – ideas and insights for brand planners” I found an article which seemed to be very funny at first sight. But then I realized that this article - "Runner, Running Free From Marketing" - could indicate an important new trend in the sporting goods industry.

The article talks about running without shoes.

Healthy or just a gag?

That’s one of the main questions that came to my mind while reading this article. Is it healthy to run a marathon barefooted? By citing Dr. Paul Langer – an Orthopedic Specialist and clinical faculty member at the University of Minnesota Medical School – the author claims that running with shoes is not more healthy than running barefooted. Dr. Langer gets even more accusing:

"It became more about marketing and less about biomechanics".

Furthermore he argues that this is all about misinformation in the 1980s and starting a

“myth that cushioning in shoes is always better”.

But who started that myth? Maybe the sporting goods companies that benefited the most from selling running shoes to everybody. Is that another scandal Nike Inc. is involved in? Feel free to comment on that issue!!!

Reaction to the new trend

It is a fact that companies already reacted to that new trend of running barefooted through the world. Nike Inc. for example released a new product line of shoes that are reduced to a basic sole. That product line is called Nike Free.

In the picture on the right you can see an even more surprising example of how the sporting goods industry reacts to that new trend.

Would you buy this Vibram Five Fingers shoe???

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posted by Euphorion