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What Could He Possibly Sell To You Now?
By: Edwina Owens Elliott
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Lots of tall tales are told in AdLand*. All day every day. But when a person boosts his own value and marketability by serving up a heartbreaking story, only for that story to be exposed as an enormous lie, there's no coming back from that. Is there?
Manti Te'o of Notre Dame thought he could ride the saga of his dead girlfriend all the way to the Heisman trophy. Even after discovering that he’d been catfished — and that’s only if you believe that he wasn’t in on the fabrication from the very beginning — he continued the lie, keeping it going at the school, in the press, to his family and his friends because, as he claims now, he didn’t want his daddy or anyone else to know that other than photographs, he’d never even once laid eyes on his so-called girlfriend of two years. Yeah? Okay.
I guess it’s clear that this blogger doesn’t quite believe Mr. Te'o. But that hardly matters. The question is, as a consumer, would you? Could he sell you a new Adidas shoe? Promote a Madden NFL video game? Endorse Saxby chicken strips? Is it possible for an athlete who foolishly indulged in duping the public to come out on the other side with a major product endorsement? And could the public believe him? Ever?
Lance Armstrong. Tiger Woods. Marion Jones. Roger Clemons. The list of athletes who lost endorsement deals and millions of dollars after shameful public revelations is a long one. Some do manage to come back. Kobe certainly did. But others, like Lying Lance, will never be trusted as a spokesperson for any product. Is Te'o now a member of this disgraced group? It would be a surprise and a major disappointment if he weren’t. Rewarding such behavior with a multi-million dollar payday would be so wrong, on so many levels. There’s not a child on the planet that should look up to him or wish to be like him when they grow up. And that is what the athletic endorsement is all about.
Either Mr. Te'o thinks he’s very smart, or he’s really pretty stupid. But one thing’s for certain. Here was a handsome young man on the cusp of greatness, about to embark on a lifelong dream in professional football with sport shoe and cereal companies fighting over him to pitch their products. But to not appear foolish, he chose instead to keep his lie alive.
So how about it? Would you rather be remembered as a big fat liar? Or a flipping fool? Doesn’t matter really. Neither works as a credible product pitchman.
*AdLand. An imaginary place tagged by Dwayne W. Waite Jr., fellow Talent Zoo blogger.

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About the Author

Edwina Owens Elliott is a graphic designer, art director, illustrator and owner of FASHION+ART, an e-commerce art gallery. She has a lifelong passion for fashion, art, writing, music, movies, books, theater, cooking, gardening, plotting and planning and dreaming big dreams. Find her online here and here.

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