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post #1 of 1 (permalink) Old Oct 30th, 2003, 08:09 PM Thread Starter
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Williams Sisters Outpace Kournikova as Pitchwomen

Williams Sisters Outpace Kournikova as Pitchwomen


Photo By Susan Mullane By Andre Christopher
10/31/2003

They are no longer No. 1 and No. 2 in the WTA Tour rankings, but sisters Serena and Venus Williams are unquestionably the most influential female athlete product endorsers, according to an Advertising Age and Knowledge Networks survey released this week.


Apparently, consumers are more apt to gobble up Big Macs and chomp on Wrigley’s gum just because the Williams sisters are spokespersons for McDonald’s and Wrigley, among other companies. In fact, the sisters appear to be more effective pitchwomen – and more recognizable – than fellow WTA Tour player Anna Kournikova.

In a September survey of 848 adults, 14 percent said they were “much more” or “somewhat more” likely to buy something endorsed by the Williamses. Kournikova, who lends her name and likeness to Xbox and Berlei’s Multiway sports bras, had that kind of influence on only nine percent of those surveyed. In addition, 19 percent of those surveyed said they didn’t know who Kournikova is, versus 11 percent who said the same about the Williams sisters.

Perhaps not too surprisingly, Kournikova is just as effective as the Williams sisters as a product endorser among men 18 to 34 years old. Sixteen percent of young adult men say they are “much more” or “somewhat more” likely to buy whatever Kournikova and the Williamses are selling.

The survey, based on the latest Burns Sports & Celebrities sports endorser Top 10, puts the sisters in a fourth-place tie with NASCAR driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the overall list of influential athlete endorsers. Basketball legend Michael Jordan is first, followed by golfer Tiger Woods and cyclist Lance Armstrong.

While the Burns list polls ad agencies and marketing executives for their opinions on athlete endorsers, the Advertising Age and Knowledge Networks survey gauged consumer response to the sales pitches these athletes make.

The Williams sisters and Kournikova were the only female athletes in the Burns Sports & Celebrities Top 10, thereby making them the only female athletes in the Advertising Age and Knowledge Networks survey.

Consumers were also asked to rate their admiration for the athletes. The Williams sisters ranked just behind five-time Tour de France champion and cancer survivor Armstrong, five-time NBA most Valuable Player Jordan and five-time PGA Tour Player of the Year Woods. Armstrong, Jordan and Woods each earned the admiration of 64 percent of those surveyed. The Williams sisters earned the admiration of 55 percent.


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Most Influential Athlete Endorsers

Percentage of consumers most likely to buy products and services endorsed by the top athlete endorsers

1 Michael Jordan 26%
2 Tiger Woods 19%
3 Lance Armstrong 18%
4 Serena & Venus Williams 14%
5 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 14%
6 Shaquille O’Neal 13%
7 John Madden 11%
8 Anna Kournikova 9%
9 Barry Bonds 9%
10 Kobe Bryant 9%
11 Tony Hawk 9%
12 Michael Vick 6%
13 LeBron James 4%
Source: Advertising Age and Knowledge Networks

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