David Beckham's image has been one of the most carefully managed brands in commercial history.
Sure the former England and Manchester United player was a very good player, perhaps even an excellent one, but you could never realistically say he was ever one of the top five best footballers in the world.
However, as a *brand* nobody comes close, and whether he is posing in his undies for H&M or sipping from a can of Pepsi, he hasn't seemed to put a commercial step wrong.
He may have just made that first misstep though – at least according to some - with his latest commercial deal causing a bit of a stir.
Beckham has teamed up with drinks giants Diageo and his manager Simon Fuller to launch a new single grain Scotch whisky called 'Haig Club' - from Scotland’s oldest grain whisky dynasty 'The House of Haig.'
Beckham said in a statement at the launch: "The House of Haig has a rich history and I’m proud to be working at the heart of a home-grown brand which has built an incredible heritage over 400 years."
It is easy enough to see the match – a sophisticated glass of scotch seems to match 'Brand Beckham' and his suave lifestyle a bit more than it he if was, say, necking say a few bottles of Smirnoff Ice (another Diageo product).
But of course, in these modern times, everybody has to be outraged by something and a charity group called 'Alcohol Concern' has stepped up and blasted Beckham for sending a "confusing message" to children by signing up with a booze company.
"It’s incredibly disappointing that David Beckham, a global icon who has wide appeal to children, has chosen to use his sports star image to promote spirits," said deputy chief executive Emily Robinson.
"Given David Beckham’s other roles promoting sport and a healthy lifestyle to children, we believe this will send a confusing message to them about the dangers of alcohol and its impact on a healthy lifestyle, and we call on the star to rethink his association with this product."
It does seem somewhat harsh to be picking on Beckham in this day and age when we have sporting events such as the 'Heineken Cup' and the 'FA Cup with Budweiser' on our screens every year.
Diageo said in response to the charity's concerns: "We and David Beckham take our responsibility in this area very seriously. David will lead the promotion of the responsible drinking programme. We have always been completely clear in our view that alcohol should only be consumed by adults and we do not want underage drinkers as consumers."
Nevertheless the question of alcoholic sponsorship in sport and the effects it might have on children is certainly a valid one considering that, by Alcohol Concern's own statistics, 92,220 children and young people aged under-18 were admitted to hospital in England for alcohol-related conditions between the 2002 and 2009.
But what do you think? Are you disappointed that Beckham is advertising an alcoholic beverage, or are sportsmen within their rights to get involved in such commercial opportunities, especially in their retirement. Leave your thoughts below.
- Sports & Recreation
- David Beckham