Texas A&M’s Heisman Marketing Plan

Johnny Manziel, 20, became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy on December 8, 2012.

It took 78 years for a freshman to win college football’s most prestigious award, but it finally happened this year. Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel became the first freshman to win the Heisman Trophy on Saturday night. Manziel beat out Notre Dame LB Manti Te’o and Kansas State QB Collin Klein to become the second Aggie to win the Heisman Trophy.

Manziel succeeded Ryan Tannehill at Texas A&M, a QB who was the ninth pick in the 2012 NFL Draft by the Miami Dolphins. Manziel led the Aggies with 4,600 all-purpose yards (the most in SEC history) and 43 touchdowns. After A&M upset then #1 Alabama, Manziel earned the moniker “Johnny Football”. Now, Texas A&M isn’t wasting any time marketing Manziel and the Heisman.

Manziel will be featured on a Times Square billboard tomorrow, and full-page advertisements for Manziel and Texas A&M will be featured in the New York Times and USA Today. Website advertisements have also been purchased, and the Manziel family is in the process of securing the trademark “Johnny Football” to use once Manziel graduates from college.

But while this marketing may bring attention to Texas A&M, the school can not profit from the campaign, according to NCAA rules. Still, that has not stopped apparel manufacturers like Adidas from creating Texas A&M apparel with Heisman references. Still, the school expects to make serious money from the Heisman Trophy victory by Manziel. Last year, Baylor University issued a  report claiming that Robert Griffin III’s Heisman victory earned the school more than $200 million. Texas A&M expects to earn even more.

And while the school may benefit financially, Manziel can do nothing to pad his own bank account. As a redshirt freshman, he is not eligible to enter the NFL Draft until 2014, and cannot sign endorsement or sponsorship contracts while he is still enrolled in school. His best bet is to go outplay his own expectations next season and win another Heisman. Until then, “Johnny Football” remains a nickname, not a slogan.


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