Advertising makes zero sense.  How is it that a product, previously unremarkable to the consumer, suddenly becomes desirable once a celebrity endorses it?  I can understand the helpfulness of a doctor’s endorsement on a healthcare product, or perhaps a chef’s recommendation of a food item, but what does Roger Federer know about watches?  The most ironic thing about it is that everybody knows how silly we all are.  Have you ever had somebody explain to you that they are unaffected by advertising?  However, the numbers do not lie.  Corporations do not throw away millions of dollars for nothing; celebrity endorsements work and they work well.  Whatever the celebrity is paid, the corporation must make more on the product or they wouldn’t pay for the advertising: simple economics at work.

Despite our denials, famous people have the ability to influence large segments of the population.  The biggest event of this summer is the 2012 London Olympic Games.  For most athletes the games are an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, a chance to shine in a brief spotlight of global interest.  Most sports in the Olympics only receive publicity once every four years.  The athletes compete in relative obscurity for much of their careers.  However, a select few Olympians remain famous all year long.  They play sports that stay at the forefront of public attention.  They win on and off the court.  They are the champions of wealth and advertising.  Forbes Magazine recently released an article on the top 20 highest paid athletes in the Olympics.  Unsurprisingly, 9 out of the top 10 hailed from either the basketball court or the tennis court.  Here are some of the athletes that highlight the list by Forbes:

Coming in at number one with $54.3 million in earnings within the last year, Roger Federer is the highest paid Olympian of the London Games.  Federer just won his Seventh Wimbledon title which is his 17th career Grand Slam.  Though his winnings are hefty, Federer makes most of his money from endorsements.  Among his corporate sponsors are these heavyweight companies: NikeRolex, Wilson, Credit Suisse, Gillette, and Mercedes-Benz.  Number two ranked, at a $53 million salary, “King James” (AKA Lebron James) enjoys sponsorship from McDonald’s, Coca-Cola, State Farm, Dunkin’ Donuts, Audemars Piguet, Upper Deck and of course Nike.  Nike alone pays Lebron James and fellow NBA star Kobe Bryant more than 15 million dollars a year just to endorse their products.  Nike even sends the two superstars overseas to store openings and basketball clinics.  Bryant clocks in at number three, following James closely, with a $52.3 million salary.   Bryant makes roughly over half of his money from endorsements.

Tennis, not to be overshadowed by basketball, claims the fourth place on the list of top earners.  One could say that Russian tennis star Maria Sharapova is even more of a business powerhouse than a tennis one.  She makes only $5.1 million of her $27.1 million from playing the game.  The rest of her considerable earnings she owes to sponsorship of Evian, Head, Nike, Samsung and Tag Heuer.  Kevin Durant, at $25.5 million, and Carmelo Anthony, at $22.9 million, clinch 5th and 6th place, respectively.  At 7th place, Usain Bolt may be the most significant athlete in the top ten.  He does not play basketball or tennis.  He runs the 100 and 200 meter sprints.  Unfortunately for track runners, the winnings for most races are dismal at best, but that doesn’t stop the fastest man in the world. He receives sponsor bonuses for record times from companies such as Gatorade, Hublot, Nissan Motor and Visa. Much of Bolt’s $20.3 million comes from a highly lucrative $9 million endorsement contract with Puma.

For the completed list see In Pictures: The Highest-Paid Olympians.  Most notably missing from it is swimming phenomenon Michael Phelps.  The 27 year-old American made waves in the 2008 Beijing Olympics when he won a record eight gold medals in one Olympics.  This year he is back as the most decorated Olympian of all time, with over 22 metals, 18 of which are gold.  Since Phelps is making a paltry $7 million dollars this year, I think we should round up a few corporate sponsors for him.  Who better to sponsor the most prestigious swimmer ever than the best paper shredders on the East Coast?  Think of it: Michael Phelps shreds the water just like Tarheel Imaging shreds paper.  The commercial could even feature him swimming in an Olympic size pool filled with paper.  Who knows, if he had Tarheel Imaging as a sponsor, he might even make as much as the bloggers.

Unfortunately, Tarheel Imaging and Microfilming has no flashy multimillion-dollar ad campaigns or famous celebrity sponsors; however, we have something that matters much more: the respect of our clients.    You see satisfied customers mean more to us than any famous endorsement ever could. How many sports stars actually use the products they sponsor, and of those, how many do they actually like?  Here at Tarheel Imaging we conduct business with good faith and integrity.  We want the recommendations of people who have actually utilized our services.  Though we’d like Michael Phelps to tell the world to shred with Tarheel Imaging, we would rather true clients did.  Check out our website and you will see real testimonials of real customers, real satisfied.