Sunday, October 15, 2017

Three People Who Should Be Brand Ambassadors

But probably never will be.

I thought I'd put the idea out there and make sure that I forward it to all of the brand directors, PR managers and CEOs out there and let whoever is interested pick up the idea and run with it.

For the record, I was born in 1968.  It was a tumultuous year around the world, but particularly in the US.  And it was also the year of the Mexico City Olympics.  And what I have always remembered Mexico City for was the brave actions of three men -

The three men were Tommie Smith of the USA (center, gold medal winner), John Carlos of the USA (far right, bronze medal winner), and Peter Norman of Australia (far left, silver medal winner).  You will also notice a white badge on all three of the medalist's jackets.  No, that is not an IOC insignia ; )
I am going to quote from a story that I found in Word The Soul Of Urban Culture:
Riccardo Gazzaniga

Norman was a white man from Australia, a country that had strict apartheid laws, almost as strict as South Africa. There was tension and protests in the streets of Australia following heavy restrictions on non-white immigration and discriminatory laws against aboriginal people, some of which consisted of forced adoptions of native children to white families.

The two Americans had asked Norman if he believed in human rights. Norman said he did. They asked him if he believed in God, and he, who had been in the Salvation Army, said he believed strongly in God. “We knew that what we were going to do was far greater than any athletic feat, and he said “I’ll stand with you” – remembers John Carlos – “I expected to see fear in Norman’s eyes, but instead we saw love.”

Smith and Carlos had decided to get up on the stadium wearing the Olympic Project for Human Rights badge, a movement of athletes in support of the battle for equality.
And spoiler alert - so did Mr. Norman.

For Smith and Carlos the consequences were predictable, and horrific.  But interesting to relate, there were parallel forces at work to make sure that Mr. Norman was punished as well.  For all intents and purposes, his track and field career was over before it ever really began.

The bond between these three amazing men carried on well beyond the Olympics.  Tommie Smith and John Carlos were pallbearers at Peter Norman's funeral when he passed, before his time, in 2006.

Here's the thing -
I know that we are living in what could politely be described as "tempestuous times".  I know that for watch brands it is easy to go with a teen idol, actress or someone guaranteed not to stir the pot.  But then again, there are brands that will partner with individuals who do horrible things, solely to get their name a little more airtime.  So if that type of controversy is acceptable, surely this is a bit more noble.

This upcoming year will mark the 50th anniversary of the Mexico City Olympics.  An Olympic games that kicked the door open on racism, human rights and demonstrated what true faith, trust and love could accomplish.  Moreover, it demonstrated that membership on a team was not determined by the country that issued your passport.  It was determined by what was in your heart.

So I'll put it out there - Omega, Hublot, or frankly anyone else interested in sharing a story about people coming together through sport to do something important - this is your opportunity.  The 50th anniversary of a true brotherhood, forged by unlikely members, defeating hate.

I can't think of three more fitting ambassadors for a watch company.  So, to the gentleman making these decisions in Switzerland -

Who's in?

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