Sure, there are detractors who say Chad Ochocinco (formerly Chad Johnson) is brash, a diva and needs to shut up – I just happen to not be one of those people. I have him on my fantasy football squads and even if he wasn’t playing well – which is not the case – I wouldn’t trade him just for the fact that his swagger and marketing savvy are so great. The often-fined, trash-talking wideout for the surprising Cincinnati Bengals may be a lot of things, but one thing that no one can deny him of not being is this – a new media star.
If there was ever a lesson to athletes on personal marketing and how to prepare yourself for life after playing days – it’s what Chad, who refers to himself as “Esteban,” is doing right now. He just announced OCNN, or the “Ocho Cinco News Network,” which is a partnership with Motorola with the slogan, “If I break it, you might as well believe it.” A lot of the details are still to be revealed, but its plan seems to be that Chad will break NFL news before the major media outlets can. It’s similar to what a lot of brands are thinking right now – “why can’t I just tell the story myself?” So we’ll see how that unfolds – I can’t imagine the NFL really being very happy about this – but even if it fails, it was still an ambitious idea and is just the latest in his many social media marketing splashes.
He regularly interacts with fans on Twitter, where he invites fans to meet him out for a movie and have dinner at his house, has contests to fly fans to games and funny exchanges with other media figures and celebs. He also has “The Ocho Cinco Show” on Ustream where fans can candidly ask him live questions. Then there’s the iPhone app (photo above). For $5.00, you can get Chad’s app that has his Twitter stream, stats, favorite songs, exclusive video and photos of him and a feature that allows you to upload tailgating pictures.
Before this season, Chad had a laundry list of antics that he became known for (raced a horse and won, claimed he could out-swim Michael Phelps, TD celebrations, his last name, mohawks, etc.), but he has now embraced social media and is setting himself up nicely for marketing endorsements and a career after football. Goodness – he even has a doll that says his catchphrases “child please” and “kiss da baby.” You can get an explanation of the quotes on YouTube here, but this imagined exchange should explain one of them: “Is there a more interactive athlete site than www.ochocinco.com?” Ocho: “Child please.. “