Unequal Technologies Takes a Chance on an Unequaled Spokesman
While watching CNBC last Thursday morning, I was surprised to see the name of the show’s guest speaker. The shock was caused by a number of reasons. First, the guest was not involved with finance, economics, or politics, but rather sports. In fact, he happened to be the quarterback of my favorite NFL team. Next, the guest was very controversial and shunned by many. Just two years ago, he was in prison for illegal dog fighting. You may have already guessed who the guest was, but, if not, then the next hint, the brand he was promoting, probably won’t give him away. He was on the show promoting a new brand of shock-blocking sports products called Unequal Technologies, and specifically, their EXOskeleton line. Now, you may be asking yourself, why would any brand choose a former felon to promote their product. Well, when that former felon is, Michael Vick, one of the most famous and talented NFL players of all-time, a new brand trying to make a name for itself should certainly take its chances.
After getting out of prison, Michael Vick was signed by the Philadelphia Eagles, in what was expected to be an uneventful second half of his career. However, after the Eagles traded Donovan McNabb and an injury forced Kevin Kolb to the sideline, Vick got his chance to play, and he took advantage of it. He was the Vick of old, but a better passer and with better decision-making. Then, after three stellar performances, he took a vicious shot to the ribs and was out for four weeks. This misfortune turned into the start of Vick’s, so far very successful, relationship with Unequal Technology.
The hit caused Vick to reevaluate his protection and pads. Vick wanted pads that were light enough to allow mobility and speed, but strong enough to protect him from getting injured while enduring many hits. Unequal Technologies introduced Vick to EXOskeleton, which was originally produced for the military. Vick has taken many hits since, but has yet to get injured. Vick stated, “I’m thrilled to be a part of the Unequal team. I’ve been wearing Unequal chest protectors, shoulder pads, and thigh pads for much of the late and post-season — resulting in pain-free playing. The Unequal technology is a part of my game now and I won’t play without my Unequal. Unequal’s protective power gives me a whole new level of confidence in my game. It makes me feel invincible.”
This seemed like a perfect fit. Vick got injured and needed a new product, and Unequal provided the product which has worked out perfectly. However, there were the illegal dog fighting issues. Vick has been the subject of much controversy and hatred. However, the President of Unequal Technologies, Rob Vito, seemed unfazed by this. ”In considering this deal there were several factors. As a dog owner, I know the love of a pet and the tremendous loss we felt when she died of cancer. But as a Christian, I believe that people can repent and deserve a second chance. I share President Obama’s support for Michael Vick and believe America is truly the land of second chances. I commend the NFL and the Eagles for granting Vick the opportunity to make a better life for him and his family. Vick’s performance on the field this season was unequaled and his passion for the game is in lock-step with our vision.” Vito was willing to give Vick a second chance, and Vick has responded by doing and saying all of the right things, while also playing the best football of his life.
I agree with both Presidents’ take on Vick, and Vito’s take on the other “several factors” he mentioned at the beginning of his quote. This was not a good move by Unequal Technologies; this was a great move. Michael Vick, despite his issues, is still one of the biggest and most talked about names in sports. Not many other athletes get the type of attention that he gets. Much of this is negative, but it still get’s his name and the brand’s name out to the public. His name recognition alone, for better or worse, is up with the likes of Peyton Manning and Tom Brady. Unequal would never have gotten the chance to sign another player of this popularity, and I would not be writing this article had they signed any other player that was within their capabilities. As a matter of fact, I’m not sure if I would even know that Unequal Technologies existed. Lastly, and equally as important, Vick is one of the best athletes, not only to ever play quarterback, but also to ever lace up his shoes and play football. He can do things that other players can’t. He can throw like the best quarterbacks, and run like the best running backs. He is unparalleled athletically, and extremely versatile as well. This is what Unequal wants to be known for and aligned with; it’s ability to allow athletes to be quick, light, and versatile. This is what the people who buy Unequal’s products will think about – not dog fighting. The Unequal brand will be more synonymous with Vick’s unequaled talent, and not his off the field issues. Ultimately, Unequal Technologies was able to take a chance on Vick, just like the Philadelphia Eagles, and it will pay off for both of them in a big way.