Is Peyton really Satan in disguise?

Check today’s guest Repman blog from Edward M. Ted “Big Blue” Birkhahn. As you’ll read, the man has some serious ethical issues with Denver Broncos’ quarterback Peyton Manning. Do you agree with him?

Unlike last night’s never-ending marathon of a Super Bowl, I’ll get right to the point: Peyton Manning and Budweiser should be ashamed of themselves.

For those who missed it, in at least two live post-game interviews with CBS  (one on the field as soon as the game ended and the other during the award ceremony with Jim Nantz), Peyton Manning deflected questions about his retirement by saying he was going to focus on some other priorities first, such as kissing his wife and children, hugging his family and celebrating the win by drinking a lot of Budweiser. Say what? Come again, Peyton?

The last part of the comment took me and many others by surprise. As a fan, a father of two kids and a marketing professional, it failed on many levels.  In what might go down as the worst example of native advertising, here are four reasons why it is so wrong:

  1. Transparency: If it looks like advertising, smells like advertising and sounds like advertising, well, then, it must be advertising. In an era of transparency, this form of sponsored content is anything but transparent. Manning tries to masquerade the paid promotion of a product as an organic extension of a conversation he’s having with a journalist. By doing so, Manning and Budweiser are duping viewers into thinking that drinking Budweiser is actually as important of a priority as hugging his family and kids. Not buying it.
  2. Authenticity: In addition to transparency, great marketing is about authenticity and believability. Manning’s delivery is so rehearsed and unnatural that it is immediately unbelievable. Will he really go home and throw back a number of Buds to celebrate a Super Bowl win and what is probably the last game of his career? You and I both know that is not going to happen unless someone from Budweiser’s marketing department is standing next to him with an iPhone to capture and distribute it across social media.
  3. I’m going to Disney World: Several people have commented that this is the new version of the, “I am going to Disney World” ads. It’s not and here’s why: When players were asked what they were going to do now that they won the big game and they responded by saying they were going to one of the theme parks, it wasn’t on live TV during an interview with a journalist. Second, everyone knew that this was a paid promotion between the player and Disney. Third, the player actually went to Disneyworld in the coming days to take part in a ticker tape parade. Effective or not, the viewer was in the know.
  4. Let’s get drunk: Lastly, what Manning did sets a horrible example for youth athletes. Telling the world of impressionable young athletes that he’s celebrating by getting drunk is just wrong for so many obvious reasons. And to get paid for saying it is even worse.

Many brands, including Budweiser, should focus on doing well by doing good. I don’t care if this sells more beer for Bud. It’s ethically wrong on a social and professional level.

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