Olympic Hero Phelps Begins to Choose His Print Advertisers

Choose wisely, athletes! Print is forever.

Michael Phelps is already all over the covers of magazines and newspapers worldwide, but that's not where his career in print advertising ends. Since Phelps became the most-medaled Olympic athlete of all time, sponsors have been clamoring to have him represent their brand.

According to his PR rep, the 'Phelps' brand has the potential to go from 5 to 100 million bucks in earning power – IF he can bring his star quality to TV and print advertising.

Not every medalist makes the cut. Many athletes just don't end up having the charisma or ability to generate public interest that you need to build a successful brand.

But so far, companies as diverse as Visa, Pizza Hut, and Speedo have gotten behind the earning potential of Phelps' Olympic gold – all banking on the ability of his golden touch to launch successful commercials, digital ads, and print campaigns.

At a heady time like this, a guy like Phelps has to be careful. He's young, he feels untouchable – if he makes the wrong move, all those endorsements could disappear overnight.

Already, health experts are criticizing his acceptance of a huge endorsement from Kellog's Frosted Flakes. Phelps will be appearing on the front of Frosted Flakes boxes and other Kellog's package and label printing, seemingly regardless of the fact that Frosted Flakes are kind of poisonous.

Should an athlete who's probably not allowed anywhere near refined sugar be hyping candy cereals to kids? That might have been okay even a decade ago, but with the health-obsessed climate we're living in today, it could be the first misstep on the road to a career that could be massively glorious, or massively disastrous.

Phelps says he doesn't care about the money, and that for him, it's all about getting people interested in swimming, but if that's the case, he should be working with advertisers that share a similar mindset.

After all, even when we're not talking about the Presidential election, print advertising is still political. When your face goes on a billboard, a poster, or a vehicle wrap, it says something about who you are.

Unfortunately, no one has to worry about this more than Olympic athletes. The sad truth is that everyone wants to be there for the glory, but no one's going to be around to pick you up when you fall flat on your cereal box.

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