Heads up Peyton and Eli: Harbaughs could be next big sibling endorsers

Photo credit: Advertising Age, AP Photo

Look out Peyton and Eli Manning, and Venus and Serena Williams. Super Bowl XLVII coaches Jim and John Harbaugh could become the next big sibling endorsers on Madison Avenue.

Look, it won’t be easy. The Harbaugh boys are not warm and cuddly. Neither of these guys has the boisterous personality of a John Madden. But sports marketing experts told me for a story in this week’s Advertising Age the greatest earning potential for the brothers is if they appear together in ads ala the Manning brothers and Williams sisters.

Jim Harbaugh is currently appearing in a funny Visa commercial that I like a lot. John Harbaugh showed a playful side by pranking a conference call between his parents and the media last week — and asking Mom if she always liked him better than little brother Jim.

Ryan Williams, vice president of marketing at Jim Harbaugh’s agency, Athletes First in Irvine, Calif., got back to me Sunday nighty after the story closed. Yes, he said, potential sponsors are already calling for both Harbaughs.

“Although both myself and John’s agent, Bryan Harlan, have been receiving calls for the brothers, we haven’t finalized anything yet,” said Williams.

More from this week’s Ad Age:

Together they could pull off the type of sibling ad campaigns done by the Manning brothers for Oreo, DirecTV and ESPN and the Williams sisters for iPhone and Avon, say sports-marketing experts.

“If they appear as brothers, like the Mannings do, that could be great creative,” said David Schwab, senior VP at Octagon, which links brands with celeb endorsers. “They’re more powerful as a pair than they are individually. They would make more money, too.”

Casting the brothers together in a TV commercial would be a smart play, agreed sports-marketing expert Robert Tuchman, president of Goviva. The brothers would be natural spokespeople for a wireless marketer looking to show how siblings on either side of the country stay ‘connected,’ he said.

In the meantime, the Harbaughs are doing plenty of marketing for the NFL, the savviest league when it comes to PR and image management. As if the Super Bowl needs more publicity, the league is playing up the sibling rivalry angle for the big game.

For the first time in Super Bowl history, the NFL is planning a joint press conference between opposing coaches. Jim and John will face the microphones together on Friday, Feb. 1, in New Orleans.

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