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Enhancing a Personal Brand
By: Jeff Louis
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Early morning television found me watching a terrible vampire series from 10 years ago while I got ready for the day ahead. Coffee wasn't cutting through the morning fog, but a TV commercial featuring Jimmy Johnson woke me up. It seems that Johnson, former NFL coach and current Fox NFL commentator, is the spokesman for ExtenZe, the "natural male enhancement  pill." 

Johnson coached the Dallas Cowboys for several years and then left the NFL to join the Fox football broadcast team. He held this position for two years, then returned to the NFL to coach Miami Dolphins. He is currently back with Fox on the broadcast team again and apparently is having some issues. 

First, when did it become OK to talk about "male enhancement" during morning TV? Don't kids watch TV during the morning hours?

Second, when did it become my business to hear the stories of those who are so obsessed with their manhood they can just come right in to my living room and tell me about it? I don't care if Jimmy Johnson needs a boost. 

ExtenZe is one of those nebulous products that hangs on the fringe. It's claims are unproven, the FDA has not approved its use, and doctors claim no pill exists to increase penis size. Despite the fact that those in the know state ExtenZe doesn't work, the company claims to have sold over a billion tablets.

Jimmy Johnson skirts this issue by stating while he's surprised by the number of guys who ask him if ExtenZe works, he tells everyone the same thing: "It works for me."

ExtenZe, of course, is happy to have Johnson on their team, which is currently running an awareness campaign using NASCAR. If you can't win the public's trust, you can certainly try to purchase it by featuring trusted public figures.

“We are thrilled to have Jimmy Johnson join our team for both raceday and as a product user and spokesman," said ExtenZe co-founder Robert Winter in a statement. "Jimmy is a true champion and leader, one of the most recognized and admired people in sports today.”

Johnson was named as the honorary crew-chief for the ExtenZe racing team during the Daytona 500, held at the Daytona International Speedway on Feb.14. (I must have missed that race.) 

While ExtenZe is currently for sale online, there are numerous complaints with the Better Business Bureau noted on Complaints.com. The complaints range from  false advertising to misleading claims of effectiveness.

Additionally, those who actually take the "free offer" aren't able to stop the pills from being mailed to them. Not surprisingly, ExtenZe was taken to court and fined $300,000 by the Orange County (CA) District Attorney's office for unfair business practices and false advertising.

The judge in the case stated the company failed to back up their claims that the pill increased penis growth by 27 percent. The company then changed their ad copy, stating the pills "enhance" rather than "enlarge."

Customers in Laguna Beach fell sick after taking the pills, causing another investigation in which it was found that ExtenZe's lead content was greater than the legal limit. 

I certainly hope Jimmy Johnson knows what he's doing. As a coach with four collegiate championships and two Super Bowl victories, he's a respected NFL analyst who is taking a big chance by aligning himself with a product that's unproven and has problems with the courts and the Better Business Bureau.

If Johnson needs the money, he should think about a loan rather than stamping his approval on what looks to be a shady product. 

In 2004, The Washington Post reported that the "miracle cure" business was reported to be worth $256 billion dollars. Go figure.  


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About the Author

Jeff Louis: Media Planner, Brand Project Manager, blogger, and aspiring writer. Please leave a comment or get in touch with Jeff on Twitter. As always, thank you for reading!

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