It’s no secret that if you’re looking to pitch your product to a wide audience, a beloved athlete will get you the attention you’re looking for. Although football players hit the field in cleats or turf shoes — not footwear you’d wear on a daily basis — NFL stars can still have an impact on the brands of sneakers you buy.
The league has a few go-to ambassadors who pitch products with a sharp and clean image, charisma and personality.
While veteran Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning sells everything from home and auto insurance to pizza, he’s not a prominent figure when it comes to promoting athletic products. But players like Russell Wilson of the Seattle Seahawks, Tom Brady of the New England Patriots, and Cam Newton of the Carolina Panthers are often featured in athletic marketing.
Although Wilson has been spotted on the field wearing Under Armour this season, he was once a face of Nike campaigns. In 2014, Wilson was one of the quarterbacks in Nike’s Field Generals ads, which showed how great quarterbacks become even greater leaders on the field. The video displayed Nike’s then-latest turf shoe built for the gridiron, the Zoom Field General.
Brady and Newton are Under Armour-sponsored athletes, with the former getting his own commercial in September as part of the brand’s “Rule Yourself” campaign. The two have also appeared in ads together for the brand, labeled “Cam Meet Tom,” where the quarterbacks show off their throwing motions.
Current players aren’t the football greats who successfully pitch footwear. Hall of Fame quarterback Joe Montana is the face of many Skechers’ RelaxedFIT shoe ads, one of which features a former teammate, Hall of Fame cornerback and safety Ronnie Lott.
Check out some of the best NFL player-led campaigns below.