Michael Vick commercial for Woodbury NissanEnlarge Photo
In the world of celebrity endorsements, matching personalities to products is tricky business. First, there's the matter of tone. Jennifer Aniston and bland bottled water? Perfect. Ozzy Osbourne and faux butter? Hmmm.
There's also the tricky matter of the celeb's lifestyle. Does the celebrity's personal life reflect the product's image, and is that personal life likely to go off the rails? Tiger Woods' text-friendly ways forced many companies to drop him as a shill, just as most brands (but not Mazda!) dumped Michael Phelps after he revealed a profound love of bongs. And now, there's Michael Vick.
Even if you're not a sports buff, you probably remember Michael Vick, the former quarterback for the Atlanta Falcons who was busted and sentenced to nearly two years in prison for running an illegal (not to mention brutally cruel) dogfighting business. Well, Vick is back, and he's ready to turn over a new leaf and repay his debt to society -- by selling cars.
Yes, Woodbury Nissan in Woodbury, New Jersey has hired Vick to be its on-air pitchman. In exchange, Vick gets no cash, but he has unlimited use of a $54,000 Nissan Armada. It's important to note that Vick isn't actually selling cars for the dealership, just fronting commercials like this one:
As business moves go, this is a fairly risky one. Football fans -- especially Eagles enthusiasts -- may be willing to forgive Vick. In fact, they might even find ads like this funny. But many others will look at Vick and see a man convicted not only of racketeering, but also of nearly incomprehensible degrees of animal cruelty. It's a gutsy play for Woodbury Nissan, and we'll be curious to see how -- and if -- it pays off.