The London Olympics have been over for nearly a month and most Americans have pretty much forgotten – if they ever even knew – the names of such competitors as wrestler Jacob Varner, diver David Boudis, and boxer Claressa Shields.
Sure, they all won gold medals, but in sports that Americans watch by the millions. Gymnast Gabby Douglas and swimmer Ryan Lochte, who were two of the biggest American brands coming out of the Games, are lucky enough to have selected sports that more U.S. residents care about. So these two, along with the marketing geniuses assigned to them, are doing everything they can to help Americans stick their names into the permanent memory book that already features such folks as Bruce Jenner, Mary Lou Retton, and Eric Heiden.
Both of them already have trademark problems to deal with. Douglas, who is known as “the Flying Squirrel,” will have to do battle with a Fordham University business student named A.J. Rotonde, who spent $325 to trademark the phrase before the 16-year-old Douglas could. The gymnast’s lawyers will surely try to fight Rotunde’s trademark claim before he has the chance to stick the nickname all over apparel, key chains, and other gear. If the legal wrangling doesn’t work, Douglas will surely be able to pay the student whatever he wants since she just signed on to write an “inspirational memoir” for Harper Collins that will come out, of course, just in time for the holidays, People reports.
Lochte is having trademark troubles of his own. He’s been trying to get possession of the word “Jeah,” but rapper MC Eiht claims he came up with the word way back in 1988, Gawker reports. And the folks at Jeah Communications, Inc. certainly aren’t happy about it, either. They’ve asked Lochte to cease and desist using the term.
That’s not stopping Lochte from starting to sell Jeah items on his website, and he's planning to debut his Jeah clothing line during New York Fashion Week, where he's been spotted making the scene. And Lochte has a great vehicle in place to promote it. The swimmer has signed on with the E! Network to “cover” the events of the week, Fashionista.com reports.
And don’t think Douglas isn’t busy doing other things than just “writing” her book. She said the Pledge of Allegiance at the Democratic Convention and then sprung over to Los Angeles and MTV for a cameo during Alicia Keys' performance at the VMAs. She’s signed on to be one of the celebrities on hand Friday for the third annual Stand Up to Cancer telethon. She threw out the first pitch at a Dodgers game with two of her gymnast pals. And she got herself onto the front of a Kellogg’s Corn Flakes box — not, as expected, General Mills' Wheaties cereal boxes.
Don’t think that’s the last you’ll see of Douglas on a product, either, as she has signed on with Procter & Gamble. Douglas may be 16 but she’s already plenty schooled in how the marketing machine works, and made a timely splash at the Democratic National Convention this week.
One big-name athlete who is having a little trouble on the apparel front these days is Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning, who wears number 18. That number, unfortunately, is associated with gangs and one county’s school system in Colorado has now banned its students from wearing any apparel that has the number on it. Other numbers that have been eighty-sixed include 13, 14, 31, 41, and 81.
Retailers in the area might want to stock up on numberless Manning jerseys.