I’m not a huge fan of telling people to “stick to” whatever it is that they usually write about whenever they decide to broaden their horizons a bit and venture outside their niche. Having said that, if someone is going to jump out there and try their hand at a new topic, it’s imperative they not rely on outdated tropes and and misguided stereotypes to inform their argument.
Unfortunately auto blogger Matt Posky did not know, or chose not to follow, those rules. In reacting to the news that Patriots quarterback Tom Brady has signed an endorsement deal with Aston Martin, Posky opened with this in his piece on The Truth About Cars blog:
The notion of American football being included in a non-pickup automotive advertisement is already ridiculous. I have nothing against the NFL personally. It has an exceptionally broad appeal, but it evokes a sort of blue-collar stars and stripes forever type of pride that makes it a superb platform to promote army recruitment and Ford’s F-150.
I’m incredibly uncomfortable with the underlying assumptions that he’s making there, but in order to fully understand how bad this is, you’ll have to keep reading:
I also don’t particularly care for Tom Brady. He’s that perfect blend of goofy and handsome that makes you feel simultaneously inadequate and superior. He might be good enough for GQ and supermodel Gisele Bündchen, but Aston Martin? Not on your life.
Brady is a Cadillac CTS at best — yet Aston saw fit to place him right next to a $215,000 DB11 as part of its new “Category of One: Why Beautiful Matters” campaign like he fucking belongs there.
There was a telling bit there, don’t know if you caught it. Before this elitist prick went on to insinuate that a Cadillac CTS is a car for hard laborers and trade workers, he managed to toss in a little nugget about sometimes feeling superior to Brady. I think that tells us everything we need to know about ole Matty.
Now there may have been a time back in the early 2000’s when Brady still had a sort of working man’s charm to him. You know, the sixth-round pick with a chip on his shoulder who lead a team named the Patriots to three titles in four years while America’s national pride was peaking post-9/11. New England fans remember those times as the pre-Gisele years.
However those times are long gone. For the last decade, Brady has been the antithesis of the “Ford Tough” blue collar America – as have most stars in the NFL. The header photo on this article is from when Brady attended the Met Gala, for god sake.
The Instagram-curated public personas of pro football players these days are right in line with what Aston Martin caters itself to, just without all the British snobbery. We’re far more likely to see those guys rocking tailored designer suits, vacationing on yachts and splurging on decadent cars and watches than drinking PBR in the bayou – or whatever the fuck it is that Matt thinks NFL players do.
That’s all not to mention the fact that Brady and Bundchen’s combined annual income is anywhere between $70 and $100 million a year. How rich do these people need to be before they can be tasked with convincing other rich people to buy the same shit they buy?
Now, Posky does go on to make one valid point that had occurred to me as well, which is that Aston Martin doesn’t exactly need a “face” of their brand. There’s really a very small portion of the population that can afford to drive their cars anyway, so the marketing strategy is a bit different that what you might employ at say, Lexus.
However, his misunderstanding of what Brady represents to the average NFL viewer is evident in his description of the difference between Brady and the iconic-yet-imaginary James Bond.
Besides, Aston Martin already has the coolest celebrity endorsement in the business with its James Bond connection. Granted, Bond is entirely fictional, but take a moment to compare the two anyway. In one corner, we have a mysterious, impeccably dressed killing machine that spends every second playing by his own rules. In the other, we have Tom Brady — an extremely talented athlete whose biggest claim to fame is that he’s one of the few high-profile NFL players that hasn’t committed a violent crime.
Who does Matt Posky get his NFL news from, the Queen of England? It’s like everything he knows about Brady was gleaned from a quick scan of his Wikipedia page at 3am.
First of all, I’d argue that “impeccably dressed killing machine that spends every second playing by his own rules” is actually a perfect way to describe Tom Brady.
Secondly, and most importantly…this guy just said that Brady’s biggest claim to fame is not being a violent criminal. That’s like saying Magic Johnson’s biggest claim to fame is that he never got divorced. “Tom Brady? That NFL player that’s never killed or assaulted anyone? Eh, don’t have much of an opinion on the guy.”
Posky, I don’t have the right to tell you to stick to writing about cars that you’ll never personally be able to afford. Write about whatever you want. But I’d advise that you talk to a real person in the world about sports, even once, before you try out another crossover story.