While you certainly can’t put a price on human life, some deaths do cause greater financial aftermath than others. The extremely tragic passing of a former basketball star Kobe Bryant shocked not only the entire basketball or sporting world, but also millions of people who had barely heard his name being mentioned. Celebrities create publicity.
With publicity comes the corporate interest, and in Kobe’s case it was the sporting goods giant Nike running in the front line. On the other hand, the company decided to delay the planned launch of its new sneaker model, on the other it announced having sold out all of its Kobe Bryant merchandise online. To be commercial or not to be, the wild guess here is that a substantial profit will appear at the bottom line come January’s financial statements.
By no means does this even hint that Nike – or any other company mentioned in this article – has thrown in additional effort or resources to capitalize on its star asset, while still having this last chance at hand. The customer, however, decides, and numbers speak for themselves. When celebrities or statespeople – not to mention monarchs – pass away, stock markets become volatile and cash registers busy.
After a death of any famous author, you can shortly expect to see a half-page ad in a newspaper in which the publisher pays respects – but does not forget to proudly present the logo either. Contract negotiations, deadline fights and all those promotional events that turned out fiascos are – if not entirely forgiven – suddenly forgotten.
The same goes with musicians; all of a sudden, mysterious “early recordings” are discovered and a comprehensive collection released. The death of Motörhead’s lead singer Lemmy Kilmister must have boosted also the sales of Jack Daniel’s.
And, simply because just a couple of weeks before his death Lemmy featured in this ad, even milk.
Michael Jordan, LeBron James and Cristiano Ronaldo are the three athletes with a lifetime endorsement deal with Nike. When they are no more able to hold their end of the bargain, the sales charts will again shoot through the roof.
Then again, it looks like Nike will have to keep paying for a long, long time before that is bound to happen.