Shaun White: Snowboarding’s biggest sell out?

Photo: Gabe L’Heureux“There’s only so much advertising space on a helmet.”

Shaun White is, without a doubt, one of the biggest names in snowboarding. He’s won numerous gold medals in the Winter X Games and the Winter Olympics. He’s had a private halfpipe built for him, earnt millions in sponsorship and been on the front cover of Rolling Stone magazine. Is there a line though and will he cross it?

Well…….. cue his latest endorsement. It’s nothing to do with Goodrich Tyres this time but another rubbery substance you put in your mouth. It’s gum. According to The New York Times, Olympic gold medalist Shaun White will endorse Whitemint gum. His name and likeness will be used on the packaging for Kraft Foods, and is one of very few athletes that have had their actual name used for chewing gum. LeBron James had ‘LeBron’s Lightening Lemonade’ Bubblicious introduced in 2005 but discontinued in 2007. Is Shaun’s gum going to last any longer? He’s also got a clothing line for Target, a sunglasses and goggles line for Oakley, a gear line for Burton and two video games — Shaun White Snowboarding and Shaun White Skateboarding — for Ubisoft. Just to name a few.

The kid has his fingers in a lot of pies that’s for sure. But how many pies is too much? The reason for the title is to see what you guys think about it. The amount of publicity he gets might be good for the sport and allowing it to be noticed all over the world, but is it too much. There’s not really a fine line between helping the sport and greed. I’m wondering what side of the line he currently falls on. Shaun has certainly tried to push the sport into China and pushes the publicity of the sport through his sponsorship but surely this is a deal made for himself. I won’t go so far as to actually call him a sell out because you have to make money somehow. I guess it hits through to the bone because snowboarders have a reputation around the world as being cool and having your face slapped on a chewing gum packet isn’t the height of becoming Arthur Fonzarelli.

Surely it would’ve made more sense for him to endorse Big Red gum?! Make light of himself and it’ll get more people buying it. Turns out, I’m a marketing genius but will they listen to me…….. no.

Screw it, I’m saying it. I think he’s a sell out.

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