By Barry Janoff
October 12, 2016: Little did Michael Phelps, world-class swimmer and arguably the greatest Olympian ever, know that when his legendary “Phelps Face” scowl was caught on camera by NBC during the 2016 Summer Games in Rio de Janeiro that it would lead to an endorsement deal.
Phelps has signed on with Intel for a humorous multi-media effort targeting the "400 million people with a 5-year-old computer and demonstrate the dramatic difference in performance found on a new PC."
Phelps, who earns about $12 million annually from endorsement deals in addition to investments, appears alongside actor Jim Parsons in a campaign breaking this week driven by TV, Internet and social media. Media buys include The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Financial terms of the alliance were not released.
"The collaboration with Michael Phelps represents the latest evolution in Intel’s integrated marketing campaign with Jim Parsons that showcases better experiences found on new Intel-powered PCs," according to Intel. "The Intel association with Phelps is a natural fit as both are known for their speed and world-class performance."
The company said it was inspired to approach Phelps when it saw Phelps at the Olympics watching videos of himself on a PC. They initially came up with some of the creative when Phelps, caught on camera in deep thought as he prepared for the men’s 200 butterfly semifinal, appear to scowl at South African swimming rival Chad le Clos, who was shadow-boxing in the ready room as part of his preparation.
Lead agency is McGarryBowen.
"Intel’s brand promise is to make amazing experiences possible," Steve Fund, svp and CMO for Intel, said in a statement. "These new ads featuring Michael Phelps draw a parallel between the newest lightning-fast Intel-powered PCs and one of the world’s fastest swimmers."
In "The Pool," Phelps is sitting by a pool watching a video of himself swimming. It is running slow so he shouts, "Faster! Faster! Faster!"
Parsons comes over and says, "On that old PC?! You should retire that, too," a reference to Phelps having said that the ’16 Summer Games would be his last competitive event.
Phelps gives him a nasty look.
"You know . . ." Parsons begins. But Phelps interrupts him. "I know. New PCs are lightning fast and play 4K video."
"And yet, here is the world’s fastest swimmer using the world’s slowest computer," says Parsons. "So why haven’t you upgraded?”
"It keeps me humble,"says Phelps.
In "Phelps Face," Phelps and Parsons are again sitting poolside as Phelp’s slow computer causes him to scowl.
"Why the Phelps face?" ask Parsons. "Old computer slowing you down? Is it a real drag? You know . . ."
Just then, an appearance by a guy imitating le Clos’s Olympic pre-swimming boxing routine interrupts the conversation.
"What is he doing?" asks Parsons.
"I have no idea," replies Phelps.
According to Phelps, "I’m excited to work with Intel as I can relate to Intel’s continuous improvement on speed, power, efficiency and amazing performance, which is similar to my own athletic journey."
Phelps has endorsement deals that include Under Armour, Omega and as investor/spokesperson for MP Brand with Aqua Sphere and Baltimore-based 800Razors.com. He also workw with the Michael Phelps Foundation.
Back to Home Page