Procter & Gamble’s Head & Shoulders brand struck marketing gold when it signed NFL star Troy Polamalu to an endorsement deal in 2009. At the time, Polamalu was a proven performer on the field with All-Pro honors and appearances in the Super Bowl. However, it was “the hair” that stood out among most NFL fans and casual viewers which made him a natural fit for the brand that wanted to expand its market.
With N-Score endorsement attributes such as Dynamic, Exciting and Unique, Polamalu has helped energize the brand, with P&G reporting sales in 2010 up by “mid-single digits.”
Head & Shoulders now enjoys 67% awareness in E-Score Brand with top Power Factors™ such as Practical, Classic and A Leader.
The relationship has also benefited Polamalu himself. Prior to the deal, Nielsen/E-Poll measured Polamalu with an N-Score of 80, putting him in the middle tier of all sports figures surveyed. Benefiting from the favorable exposure, Polamalu currently holds an N-Score of 165, putting him in the “Superstar” tier, which represents the top seven percent of all sports figures for endorsement potential.
Now Head & Shoulders is trying to replicate its success with Joe Mauer, of baseball’s Minnesota Twins. Like the pre-endorsement Polamalu, Mauer has been successful on the field, winning three AL batting titles and earning MVP honors in 2009. However, he plays for a middle-market team which has not made it past the first round of the playoffs during his tenure. Mauer currently has an N-Score of 36 and Awareness of only 11 percent. However, P&G must be seeing something else in Mauer that might be a good complement to Polamalu.
First, like Polamalu, Mauer has a very high local N-Score of 620 in his hometown market which puts him in the endorsement “Hall of Fame” category. If he can translate that appeal on the national stage, they may have made the correct choice. Secondly, Joe Mauer’s attributes of Down to Earth, Confident and Influential, along with a clean-cut look, may be the bookend they need to appeal to all types of consumers. Lastly, using players from both the NFL and Major League Baseball expands the fan base and potential market upside for the brand.