Branding Machine: Shawn Johnson

9:37 PM

Remember this pint-sized girl? The one with the strong legs and ear-to-ear grin?


Yup, that's Shawn Johnson, and she's back in all her Olympic hype-glory. Four years since Beijing, Johnson has grown-up, and at 20, has officially retired from professional gymnastics. So, what is she up to now?

Apparently, she's signed endorsement deals with some of the world's biggest brands, which love Johnson regardless of the fact that her Olympic affiliation is now in the past. That, or there were some major contracts set in place before Johnson announced in June that she was leaving her sport, and it was too late to sign Jordyn Wieber instead (I'm kidding . . . kind of). Either way, I'm willing to bet that the rest of the U.S. won't mind seeing the Beijing star's winning smile on their televisions every now and then this summer.


So, where can you expect to find Shawn Johnson before and during the upcoming Olympic games? Check out some of her recent endorsements:



Coca-Cola is like the Disney of soda brands. The company just seems to do everything well, setting itself apart from others while always remaining true to its very Americanized core. Coke's latest venture? Olympic-themed cans, each with a silhouette of a different Olympic hopeful. Among the athletes featured: David Boudia, Marlen Esparza, Henry Cejudo, John Isner, David Oliver, Jessica Long, Alex Morgan, and, the woman of the hour, Shawn Johnson. Johnson's silhouette features a balance beam pose, capturing a moment in the event for which she won gold in the last Olympics. The image is a recognizable one for any gymnastics fan, and no doubt cashes in on the feeling of patriotism that consumers often feel when connecting with athletes from their home country.

Johnson also voices her personal story in the following Coke-sponsored video, which helps connect consumers to the athlete's--and soda's--brand on an even more personal level:

Procter & Gamble

Something tells me you've already seen numerous replays of Shawn Johnson tumbling around her mother's living room in Procter and Gamble's latest Bounty ad. Okay, I'm just basing that on countless amount of times I've already seen the commercial. Regardless, the TV spot, which features Johnson and her mom, coincides with Procter and Gamble's recent theme of recognizing and thanking mothers of Olympians for remaining dedicated to their children. I can only imagine how many times I would've broken my own neck (and scared my own mother into a panic attack) if I had attempted to hand-walk on railings and coffee tables, but Johnson just makes it seem like a slice of everyday life.


And then, of course, there's Nike, which is probably not a surprise when it comes to endorsing an athlete of Johnson's caliber. After all, what would an athlete be without a nod from the "swoosh" empire? Probably an Adidas or New Balance groupie . . . and that just doesn't sound right. After all, these are the Olympic games we're dealing with. Where there are Olympic games, there are usually some specially-designed pieces of Nike swag nearby. And that means Nike's gonna scoop up their favorite athletes before they're seen wearing some dreadful Reebok gear or something of the sort (for the record, I have nothing against Reebok, Adidas, or New Balance).

Here's a video of Johnson and Nike working together to create a virtual likeness of the athlete:

Pretty cool, huh? James Cameron should wrangle her up for Avatar 2.

Have you seen Shawn Johnson or any other Olympic athletes tumbling around your TV or favorite magazines lately? If so, let me know where! I hope you're as excited for the upcoming games as I am!

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