Is Seattle’s Russell Wilson the Perfect Brand Ambassador? We’re About to Find Out


Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson may have had a big win on the field during the Super Bowl, but he stands to have an even bigger win off the field.

At just 25-years-old, Wilson looks like he belongs as much in British boy band One Direction as behind center. Where his adversaries are old and robotic like Peyton Manning or aggressively sharp-angled and bicep-kissing like Colin Kaepernick, Wilson is soft spoken and monumentally humble. He’s outwardly religious—but not Tim Tebow-religious. He’s outspoken about being an underdog—but not Tim Tebow-outspoken about being an underdog. And at 5-foot-10 and 200 pounds, he’s amazingly relatable as an Everyman—somebody you could actually be.

Add to all that his effervescent smile, hard-to-place ethnic background and Renaissance man attitude—Wilson is outspoken about his love of meditation and yoga (yoga!)—and you have the makings of a different kind of new age intellectual NFL star. Watch as the brands fall over themselves to sign him up.[more]

Peyton Manning’s $13 million in record off-field endorsements last season eclipsed Wilson’s deals by a cold $12 million. Don’t expect that to last though. Wilson already has deals with Nike, Levi’s and local player Alaska Air. American Family Insurance—headquartered in Wisconsin where Wilson was a college star—made a great move when it locked up the quarterback in a new multi-year deal just four days before his Super Bowl victory.

Even before last night’s big win, Wilson-mania was already on the upswing. Though it was only his second season in the NFL, his jersey was the NFL’s second best seller—a sum that isn’t reflected in Wilson’s compensation, which hit just above $600,000 last season. Compare that to Wilson’s left tackle Russell Okung, who pocketed $9,540,000. Wilson’s contract will be negotiated—upward for sure—after next year.

When it comes to faith, Wilson is also already becoming one of the biggest names in the NFL amongst the Christian community. But where Tim Tebow is a divisive religious character, Wilson walks a quieter line, leaving his outward shows of faith off the field. His pre-Super Bowl comments about the importance of Jesus have been all over the web, if you know where to look. (Tebow, meanwhile, is riding his own wave of success following his cameo in T-Mobile’s Super Bowl ads. The charming, self-deprecating ads are “good for his career,” according to Jon Bond, CEO of marketing company Tomorro cqLLC.)

Meanwhile, within the Seattle community, Wilson is already a supporter of Seattle Children’s Hospital and more or less universally adored in the same way Drew Brees is in New Orleans. (By the way, Brees had Manning-level endorsements last year totaling about $11 million.)

Wilson’s charisma is clearly something brands are latching on to. Whether it’s Levi’s or American Family, commercials starring the QB feature Wilson talking plainly about himself, not pontificating about on-field highlights. Expect to see more of the same as brands look to absorb some of Wilson’s incredibly good vibes.

In the end, in the age of the “Hashtag Bowl,” there is only one example that points to why Wilson is the future for brands partnering with NFL stars: Russel Wilson has 670,000 followers on Twitter, where he’s likely to tweet something about one of the brands sponsoring him. Meanwhile, Peyton Manning will not tweet your brand because Peyton Manning isn’t even on Twitter.

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