BRANDING

Branding Muhammad Ali

What products float like a butterfly?
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Robert Sillerman, who controls Elvis Presley Enterprises, recently paid $50 million for an 80 percent stake in the commercial rights to Muhammad Ali's name, image, and likeness, even though it's been 30 years since the height of The Greatest's fame and the three-time world champ has been suffering from Parkinson's disease for a number of years. So how far can the Ali brand be taken? We asked some entrepreneurs for their ideas.

drill iconPower Tools
The Ali brand is tough, agile, confident, and unstoppable. Put away your Black & Decker and Craftsman gear, and buy Muhammad Ali power tools.

Mark Shay
Educational Directories
Chester, Pennsylvania

car iconCadillacs
I have a picture in my office of Ali knocking out Sonny Liston to remind me that just as I was able to come into my industry as an unknown and beat the competition, someone could do the same to me. Along the same line, Cadillac could use Ali in ads for its fast new model, which will knock out the Japanese and German luxury cars.

Gary A. Pudles
AnswerNet Network
Princeton, New Jersey

controller iconVideo Games
Create new titles to reintroduce Ali to the younger generations, which may not be as familiar with him.

Robert Smith
Robert Smith & Associates
Rockton, Illinois

money iconAnnuities
Ali should be marketed toward baby boomers, and it would be interesting to see financial services or insurance brands use the values attached to Ali, like undaunted individualism and triumph, to break out of their stodgy categories.

Mark McGarrah
McGarrah/Jessee
Austin

bartender iconSports Bars
I'm picturing a chain of boxing-themed restaurants with bars with TVs that play old boxing footage.

Keith Schwartz
On Target Promotions
Warrensville Heights, Ohio

rx iconPharmaceuticals
I was raised by my grandfather, who suffered from Parkinson's, so I would put Ali in TV commercials to promote cures and treatments for that horrible disease--the same way that Pfizer uses Dr. Robert Jarvik, the inventor of the artificial heart, to promote its drug Lipitor.

Wayne Gorsek
Vitacost.com
Boynton Beach, Florida

slot machine iconSlot Machines?
Ali's name and image are about strategy, winning, and excitement, so I'd use him in 30-second TV spots for casinos. A casino could even have an elite Ali room or slot machines adorned with butterflies and bees.

Wendy Lane
Lane PR
Portland, Oregon

slot machine iconYes, Slot Machines
My company makes gaming machines, and I could definitely make a knockout slot machine using Ali's name and likeness.

Jon Yarbrough
Video Gaming Technologies
Roebuck, South Carolina

Last updated: Jun 1, 2006

DARREN DAHL

Darren Dahl is a contributing editor at Inc. magazine, which he has written for since 2004. He also works as a collaborative writer and editor and has partnered with several high-profile authors. Dahl lives in Asheville, North Carolina.




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