Which brand is the greatest of all time? The debate rages on.
Remember the Coke vs. Pepsi wars? Coca-Cola wins in my book, by far—a corporate identity carrying a great deal of weight—but some might argue. Other brands that rise to the top carry tremendous legacy in America and globally: McDonald’s, Budweiser, Disney, IBM, Ford. Then there are the newcomers: Apple, Amazon, Google, Nike, Tesla. All have made a significant impact on a broad range of consumers and have become an iconic part of our brand culture, where they’ve contributed to brand innovation.
In the world of sports, the National Football League’s Super Bowl has become a Greatest of All Time brand event, a national holiday in its own right. This year will showcase two of its most highly celebrated brand superstars with marked contrasts in their personality and following. Both have become “poster boys” for the NFL brand: Tampa Bay Buccaneers QB TOM BRADY, labeled the G.O.A.T (Greatest of All Time) and Kansas City Chiefs QB PATRICK MAHOMES, the league’s rising star.
Few can argue that Brady is not deserving of the G.O.A.T. moniker, with his upcoming 10th Super Bowl appearance in his storied 21-year career, which also includes three NFL MVP awards and four Super Bowl MVPs, to go along with six Super Bowl victories. With his success, Tom has secured a slew of lucrative brand endorsements, ranging from mainstream brands like Dunkin’ and Hershey’s, during his formative years, to his more recent association with luxury and high-end brands like UGG, Aston Martin, and his own TB12 sports performance & nutrition brand. It will be interesting to see how Brady, the NFL’s elder statesman at 43, leverages his brand charisma and heritage moving forward. While Brady has his tribe of followers, there are many who don’t buy into his brash, “winner” persona. Perhaps that is why this year, he took his brand south to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, with an objective to create a new brand positioning and reinvent himself.
If Brady wins yet another title in this year’s Super Bowl LV, making it his seventh… will he retire, and would it be a loss for the league? Fear not, fans—standing on the opposite sideline could be the new brand spokesperson of the NFL. The 25-year-old kid in Kansas City could become the NFL’s go-to face. Like Brady, Mahomes is an exceptional QB, but he also shows great potential. With youth on his side, great energy, charisma, good looks, yet genuine humility, Mahomes seems to be the real deal and the “rising star” that consumers are quickly responding to. Coming off his first Super Bowl victory and MVP award last year, Mahomes has been leveraging his brand power. Off the field, Mahomes has not only secured endorsements from mainstream brands like P&G’s Head & Shoulders and State Farm Insurance but has followed in Tom’s footsteps by hooking up with luxury brands like Oakley and Adidas, for whom he has just launched his new, personal Ultraboost Footwear brand. With years of football ahead of him, could the young Patrick Mahomes be the next NFL G.O.A.T.?