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To Tebow or Not To Tebow? That is the Question.

As you’re all probably aware by now, I’ve been kind of hung up on football lately. Last week I wrote about the inaugural Mindjet Productivity Bowl and here I am at it again talking about none other than the Denver Bronco Quarterback, Tim Tebow. Personally, I think it’s because I’m going through Post Super Bowl (PSB) Withdrawal – ok so it’s a lame name, but you get the idea.

This week marks the return of Social Media Week to San Francisco, one of the now 21 global cities hosting this conference. For those of you unfamiliar with Social Media Week, it’s a global conference touching on a wide variety of Social Media topics – from the future of social to analyzing social ROI to discussing how it can help select a brand ambassador.

Earlier today, I attended some of these talks. One I fond particularly interesting was a “Social Media Shoot-out” between two digital marketing agencies (Beyond and Lithium). The two teams were tasked with deciding whether or not it made sense using the controversial Denver Bronco Quarterback as a brand’s spokesperson. The goal of this showdown was to highlight how to help individuals cope sifting through the sea of data that social media produces and how to take that data and come up with specific insights (in this case about Tebow). Each team was supposed to come up with three insights around Tebow. So in the spirit of football, let’s dive in and see who wins in Beyond vs. Lithium.

First up, Beyond Technologies. They analyzed the entire NFL season reporting a whopping 7.4 million posts on Tim Tebow. So, clearly Tim Tebow is one popular guy. Here’s several key insights that Beyond pulled out when analyzing Tim Tebow.

Insight #1: When Tebow wins he’s a hero, and when he loses, he’s a fraud. Maybe not that surprising to Tebow followers. However, given this popular sentiment, the question then becomes does the same hold true for other NFL quarterbacks. Is Tom Brady or Alex Smith just as susceptible to the same sentiment flux? The answer is no. The Beyond guys felt the reason why the sentiment around Tim Tebow sways so much is because he’s not an established QB yet. So it should be interesting to see how this plays out in future NFL seasons.

Insight #2: The Beyond team discovered that surprisingly enough, Tebow’s religion does not have a real negative impact on his overall perception. In fact, they believed that Tebow’s religious affiliation is an important part of his appeal. The Beyond team wanted to see if Tebow’s close association with Christianity was a potential issue as a future brand spokesman. Interestingly enough, his religious association helps him. People associate Tebow as being an individual of strong moral fiber resulting in the average sentiment around Tebow and religious conversations being slightly more positive than the overall Tim Tebow conversation sentiment.

Insight #3: Humor is essential part of America’s Tim Tebow experience. 2.4 million jokes and about 2 million sarcastic comments or approx. 33% of total twitter comments made about Tebow consisted of jokes or sarcastic comments.

Beyond recommended using him. Tim Tebow is definitely buzz-worthy, but they advised that only a very carefully crafted portrayal of Tim Tebow will be successful. They suggested portraying his volatility, as Tebow is no Michael Jordan – It takes incredible last minute antics for him to win. Also, they suggested highlighting his morality, his characteristics of being a good guy etc… and lastly to include a humorous element in the content. They concluded if you pull off a campaign that way it will be successful.

Now we turn our attention to Lithium. Lithium’s team felt that it wasn’t worth using Tim Tebow as a spokesman at all. They felt that he is just too polarizing and his religious affiliation makes him too risky. Here’s why:

Insight #1: Unlike Beyond, Lithium found times when the conversation sentiment was negative around Tebow and religion. They believed this was because it was due to people mocking Tim Tebow.

Insight #2: Tebow is a Meme. They felt that Memes are not always best for endorsements. Despite the fact that you’re guaranteed to get a lot of buzz around Tebow, the religious connotation remains right there, underneath the surface. The Lithium team felt that it quickly becomes a case of discerning if “all P.R. is good P.R.”.

Insight #3: Lithium found that most of the conversations around Tebow were about mocking him. Tebow is a very polarizing guy, when the team looked at all the “I love Tebows” vs. “I hate Tebows” the two conversations trended each other proving that it really is the opposite side of the same conversation.

Clearly, what is shown here is that when looking at social media and brand ambassadors you have to look and see if the individual is right for your brand. If you wanted to portray excellence and consistency, then Tebow would not be your guy. However, if you wanted to have a campaign highlighting how he’s a generally a good guy and want it to be humorous, then perhaps Tim Tebow is the right person for the job. It really depends on what it is you want to convey. So next time you’re thinking about soliciting a brand ambassador make sure to do some research and see if the individual you have in mind is a good fit with your brand’s attributes.

Your Turn

Do you think Tim Tebow would be a good brand spokesman? I’m curious.