My Brand Crush

Brett Favre was an exceptional quarterback. Gun-slinging the ball into Antonio Freeman’s hands, he played with guts and relied on gut instincts.  These traits – along with a big dose of swagger – were tenets of the Favre “brand.” You can also add to that his Vikings “betrayal,” his multitude of interceptions, and some casual infidelity. Despite the latter, Brett’s brand image is solid among fans, and when he completes his Packers reconciliation party next year, it will get even better.

But, come on.

The blessing that is the current Packer quarterback is not only a God-appointed hero; the Aaron Rodgers “brand” is the quintessential ivory tower. Sure, you can cite his records, you can speak of his dreamy eyes or Christianity, but let’s simply focus on his brand story. It reads like a Disney script.

Young Aaron was a California boy playing ball at Berkeley and hoping to get drafted. Although scouts had him going to the hometown San Francisco 49ers as number one overall pick, he embarrassingly slid all the way down to the 24th, finally getting taken by our very own Packers. He then sat on the bench behind Mr. Favre, ignored, for three long years. Talk about some humble beginnings.

Once given the chance, he proved to be a stable replacement. And very quickly he began to command the team and rise among the ranks among NFL QBs. After just a few years in the starting role – BOOM – he was a Super Bowl champion. MVP, Player of the Year, and all the trimmings of fame suddenly boosted his brand voice. And this wasn’t a team handed off by Favre. It was a team led and developed by Aaron himself.

This is the brand story of Mr. Rodgers.

And it gets better. Add the association of State Farm Insurance, Ford trucks and the amazingly gorgeous Olivia Munn, and his brand image is soaring. But the facets and expressions of his brand are continually extending with photo bombs, It’, and this season’s prophetic “R-E-L-A-X” comment. In fact, each and every time the Packers win a game, the word “relax” becomes a stronger and stronger core identity for the everyday hero archetype of Aaron Rodgers. The handlers of Aaron, along with the man himself, are crafting a remarkable brand.

And yes, he is a brand. It may seem harsh, or shallow, to think that any of it is manufactured, but really, these brand elements were chosen on purpose. Olivia aside, his brand has a value and he knows it full well. All would agree that he seems like a natural at being so likable and straight, but that was also the perception of Michael Phelps and O.J. Simpson. Other brands long to associate with him and glean but a morsel of this All-American brand’s heat. And other brands can learn volumes from the choices he makes and fun he creates. His brand is in motion – like an eloquently weaving scramble through a Bears’ defense.

Do I have a man crush on Aaron? A little. But it’s greatly outweighed by my brand crush.