The selection of Jameis Winston was bound to be a polarizing decision by the Buccaneers. There are loud voices on both sides of the fence that continue to preach whether it be for or against Winston.
Along with Winston doing what he needs to do to stay out of trouble, the marketing of Jameis Winston in a positive light is what now falls on the Buccaneers organization.
The marketing of Jameis Winston by the Bucs started long before the selection of Winston happened. Peter King pointed out in his latest MMQB column that Jason Licht had been locked in on Winston since last year's draft.
"You can trace the chase of Winston to Draft Day 2014, as crazy as it sounds. On the scouting trail, Licht became enamored with Winston, knowing he might leave FSU for the 2015 draft, after his second season as the starter. Licht’s brother-in-law asked him via a draft-day text last year whether he preferred Johnny Manziel or Teddy Bridgewater in the first round."
I don't think it is fair to say the Bucs tanked the entire 2014 season to get in position to draft Jameis Winston, but once they were within striking distance of the 1st overall pick, they made sure that pick would be theirs. Once the pick was in their hands, the marketing of Winston began.
The Buccaneers tried to show equal time to both Winston and Marcus Mariota during the draft process, but I think most people could figure out the spin that was taking place. Any contact the Bucs had with Winston was instantly leaked out into the media. The process of both investigating Winston and preparing the public for the selection of Winston had begun.
It wasn't a coincidence that Jameis Winston was spotted at charity events for both Mike Alstott and Derrick Brooks in the weeks leading up to the draft. The Bucs were locked in on "their guy" and, not only wanted him in front of the people at these events, but certainly knew his attendance would leak to the general public as it did.
By the time the draft arrived and the pick of Winston was made official, the overwhelming response locally was in favor of Winston. However, the marketing of Winston is just beginning.
I fully expect the onslaught of positive Winston marketing to be thrown in our faces often over the next several months or years. It can be a video of Winston's first arrival at One Buc Place where the organization had every employee in the building gather in the entryway to welcome their new quarterback. It can also be a video of Winston high-fiving a long line of rookies entering the building for rookie mini camp this weekend. This is what the Buccaneers have to do right now.
According to USA Today, Jameis Winston is not highly regarded when it comes to marketability.
"Winston ranks near Johnny Manziel, Bill O'Reilly and Donald Trump in terms of "appeal'' — which leaves him in the bottom 2% (3,597 out of 3,664 celebrities on the list.) He ranks in the bottom 20% (2,994) in "aspiration" — whether a celebrity has a life to which respondents aspire to — alongside Nick Saban.
"In 'trust,' Winston ranks near Janet Jackson, Vanilla Ice and Mark McGwire, leaving him in the bottom 7% (3,421)."
To some people like me, these videos and marketing efforts might come across as forced, but I also realize they are necessary. The Bucs still have to overcome this negative connotation and reputation that Jameis Winston has grown through immature actions over the years. The more ways they show him doing positive things inside their building or within the community, the better chance they have at swaying people in favor of him.
As long as Winston keeps out of ANY trouble, and that includes even the most minor of things, he will continue to see his popularity grow. The marketing efforts by the Buccaneers have already been ramped up, so do not expect the Winston hype to die down any time soon. It will be in your face in a big way over the next several months leading up to the regular season.Subscribe to The Commish Online Podcast on iTunes!
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