Brady's Endorsement Value Plummets After Deflation Suspension

  • Polling shows Brady is as likeable as 50 Cent, Rex Ryan
  • Super Bowl MVP is still a trend-setter for consumers
Tom Brady’s endorsement value took a hit following the release of Ted Wells’s report on the New England Patriots’ manipulation of footballs, according to the Davie Brown Index that measures celebrity attributes.

Updated polling by Dallas-based Marketing Arm, which produces the index known as the Celebrity DBI, was completed Monday. Twelve days earlier Wells’s report found that Patriots personnel likely deflated game balls to below the National Football League’s allowable level prior to a playoff win over the Indianapolis Colts, and that Brady probably knew. On May 11, he was suspended for four games, a ban he’s appealing.

The DBI measures eight different attributes. It found that consumer trust in Brady dropped to 3,027th of 3,686 celebrities measured, from 967th on Feb. 5, just after he was named Super Bowl Most Valuable Player amid the highly publicized controversy. Whereas he had been in the top third, on par with actors Cameron Diaz and Jon Hamm, trust in Brady now is equivalent to that of conservative commentator Bill O’Reilly and actor Billy Bob Thornton.

“We expected a significant drop; this is a huge,” Matt Delzell, Marketing Arm’s managing director of celebrity talent acquisition, said in a phone interview.

Brady, who’s led the Patriots to four Super Bowl wins, made $7 million in endorsement income in 2014, according to Forbes, from deals with companies including sports apparel company Under Armour Inc., watchmaker Movado Group Inc. and Deckers Outdoor Corp.’s Ugg footwear.

In February, Brady ranked 2,843rd in appeal, a measure of how much consumers like him. However, he ranked 117th in aspiration -- how much consumers wanted his lifestyle. He is married to supermodel Giselle Bundchen, who ranked 56th last year on Forbes’s list of most powerful celebrities.

“On one hand people were saying they didn’t like the guy but on the other hand they said, ‘he’s got a pretty awesome life,”’ said Delzell. “There’s some jealousy in there. People probably didn’t like him because of the reasons they desired to be like him.”

Brady’s appeal is now 3,570th, on par with rapper 50 Cent, Buffalo Bills coach Rex Ryan and pop star Britney Spears.

In a measurement of credibility as an endorser, Brady fell to 2,333rd from 259th. While he dropped to 1,190th from 123rd in the influence category and to 1,580 from 244th as a trend setter, those two classifications remain fairly strong for Brady, said Delzell.

“If you were in the financial services business, where trust and credibility are paramount, it’s not the right move,” Delzell said of how future endorsers should look at the 37-year-old Brady. “But if you are in the fashion world, and people aren’t looking at you to be their moral compass, rather a trend-setter and they follow your style, that’s a different story.”

The DBI, conducted by a third-party survey company, is established by polling 1,000 respondents out of a demographically balanced pool of one million people across the U.S., according to Marketing Arm.



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