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.
The Ali brand is tough, agile, confident, and unstoppable. Put away your Black & Decker and Craftsman gear, and buy Muhammad Ali power tools.
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
Princeton, New Jersey
Create new titles to reintroduce Ali to the younger generations, which may not be as familiar with him.
Robert Smith & Associates
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.
I'm picturing a chain of boxing-themed restaurants with bars with TVs that play old boxing footage.
On Target Promotions
Warrensville Heights, Ohio
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.
Boynton Beach, Florida
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.
Yes, Slot Machines
My company makes gaming machines, and I could definitely make a knockout slot machine using Ali's name and likeness.
Video Gaming Technologies
Roebuck, South Carolina
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, NC.