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Tuesday, Jan. 17, 2017

A person or a brand?

Posted Thursday, June 25, 2009, at 10:35 AM

Maybe 'image' would be a better word here, but IndyCar driver Danica Patrick referred to herself as a "brand" at a press conference concerning her future last week.

NASCAR may be a possibility, she's indicated, but no agreements have been signed.

"My brand is determined, it's feminine and hopefully -- I feel a little bit awkward talking about myself like this -- but something beautiful, something fast, something interesting and exciting and something inspiring and something iconic and something that's doing things that's never been done before," she said, according to the Associated Press. "Those are all things that I would hope would describe my brand."

I guess "brand" is ingrained into race drivers. The typical race winner meets the media moments after risking their life and spouts a product pitch.

Danica Patrick's "brand", though, may be best defined by the photos which pop up when Googling her name: Swimsuits and an evening gown. Hey, a girly race driver!

Think she'd work out in NASCAR? I suspect if she makes the move, she'll do well on the track. But will the good ol' boys accept her?

Seems like being a brand, though, is somewhat dehumanizing. I'd rather think of people as, well,... people.

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Not so sure the Michael Jordan thing is about Michael Jordan so much as about Jerry Reinsdorf and Jerry Krause - two men with egos so large that they can't fit their heads through a door.

Jordan was loyal to the Bulls, but he also understood that professional athletes are not slaves and that the players - not the owners - are the "attraction". Nike showed more respect for Jordan as an athlete than Reinsdorf and Krause did.

-- Posted by benintn on Thu, Jun 25, 2009, at 11:23 AM

I still remember when Michael Jordan was in his original basketball career and he told an interviewer that he considered Nike, not the Chicago Bulls, to be his primary employer. To me, that spoke volumes about what pro sports has turned into. It's all about branding, and marketing.

-- Posted by Jicarney on Thu, Jun 25, 2009, at 10:59 AM

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David Melson is a copy editor and staff writer for the Times-Gazette.