Super Bowl 2010

Drew Brees' Career as Endorser Just Getting Off the Ground

Now on the Road to Super Bowl, Saints Quarterback Looks Toward National Deals as Pitchman

By Published on .

CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- In toppling Brett Favre's Vikings to reach the Super Bowl, New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees may have already won himself a place as the NFL's next great pitchman.

On paper, Mr. Brees is a marketer's dream, with a story that includes not only on-field success but also a prominent role in the rebirth of New Orleans.

Mr. Brees is widely considered the most desirable endorser on a team that lacks many widely known names. Running back Reggie Bush has scored endorsement deals in the past with the likes of Red Bull, Subway, Adidas and General Motors, but many of those came as a result of his stellar collegiate career at the University of Southern California. Mr. Bush's NFL career has been marred by inconsistency since, although he has performed well during the team's playoff run.

But Mr. Brees' appeal goes beyond his stellar play. His decision to sign a free-agent contract with the Saints in the wake of Hurricane Katrina, when it was far form clear that the team would stay in New Orleans, was widely seen as a vote of confidence in the city's future. And Mr. Brees doubled down on that proposition by investing himself heavily in high-profile charity work around the city, so much so, in fact, that some Saints fans have taken to calling him "Breesus."

He was pretty good on the field, too, directing an explosive offense that has landed the historically hapless Saints in their first Super Bowl.

Bigger things ahead
Until now, Mr. Brees has piled up a number of largely regional or smaller-scale deals with some big-name brands, including Sprint, Pepsi, Visa and Nike.

But he may now be poised for higher-profile endorsement deals.

"You're definitely going to see some stuff coming out after the Super Bowl," said Chris Stuart, Mr. Brees' marketing agent. "So much of sports is at the regional level, so it takes events like these to break through [to national deals]."

Citing confidentiality agreements, Mr. Stuart declined to disclose which brands Mr. Brees was in talks with, or even what categories those marketers worked in. But he said deals would likely be announced within days.

Mr. Brees is already appearing in an online video for Procter & Gamble's Pampers brand that went live on YouTube late last week. That video, which also features his wife and baby, shows him hitting diapers with footballs from 30 yards.

It's a rather long-winded means of demonstrating a diaper's absorbency, but it does demonstrate Mr. Brees' appeal as a star athlete and model family man who's tied to the feel-good story of the Saints and their city.

"He really does transcend sports," said Darin Perry, director of corporate sponsorships for Millsport, a unit of the Marketing Arm. "You'll see him have some great opportunities."

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