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Thursday, October 20, 2005

Brand Strong

For years there have been individuals branded as embodiments of “The American Dream,” and now Lance Armstrong has once again raised the stakes. The Tour de France has always been a monumental sporting event, but even when Greg Lemond was in the yellow jersey we were not as inspired to identify with and stand behind him as we do for Lance Armstrong. Lance Armstrong is what Americans want to believe they could be. Even a commercial for Fitness USA (not to be mistaken for Nike) shown during the tour represents this concept. Lance runs down a busy street and everyone he passes starts doing something active. Business people start running like track stars, delivery men start doing curls with water jugs…etc. Look around your own neighborhood or on the streets as you drive in your car. Notice how many bikes you see on the roads, and think about why all the sudden people are motivated to shift gears and pump up hills.

Ironically from the same state as the President of the United States, Armstrong has motivated people around the world to “LiveStrong.” The yellow bracelets are as abundant as ever (and caused a universal bracelet craze similar to the ribbon bumper stickers craze). Americans value professional athletes (the proof is in the paychecks), and if they find an athlete who triumphs not only as an athlete but also as a person, they cling to him in a childlike manner, wanting desperately to be identified with him.

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