It hasn’t been the best of falls for either the fans of the New York Giants or the Washington redskins, but that doesn’t mean the last of wins has stopped the continued off-field hype of the teams stars. From Robert Griffin III promotions all over Maryland and Virginia to Eli Manning’s ever-present face at Dunkin Donuts, star power overcomes wins and losses, especially when the promo dollars are already out the door. Donuts are good comfort food anyway, right?
One thing not to be overlooked is the good athletes still do in the community, assets that, in lean years, sometimes become even more value in staying tight with fans. Those athletes who continue to embrace and do the little things when efforts on the field aren’t going right are sometimes remembered long after their record on the field comes to an end.
So it is worthwhile to note that Mark Herzlich, an inspirational story in himself as he overcame cancer at Boston College to go on to play in the NFL with Big Blue, and the Washington Redskins wide receiver Pierre Garcon have teamed up in a competition to see who can raise the most money for childhood cancer research. The fundraising campaign from Wahl Clipper and St. Baldrick’s Foundation comes with a twist—the winner gets to shave the other guy’s head; getting bald to stand in solidarity with kids fighting cancer. Herzlich doesn’t actually have far to go given he sports a Mohawk these days as well.
The Wahl Head-to-Head Challenge kicked off on the last day of National Childhood Cancer Awareness Month, September 30. The goal is to continue raising funds for the cause and to send a message that support must extend beyond this one dedicated month. Being a shaving partner of the NFL makes the contest a bit easier for Wahl, but it also provides a nice entrée beyond the sports pages in two major markets. Both players have also used social media to build support, and the final showdown wll get ample viral support because of the nature of the event and despite the team’s records at the time, so it can be a win/win for all involved.
It is tough to break through the pink tradition during October around the NFL for any kind of charity event, let alone one tied to any form of cancer charity support, and November’s popular “Movember” campaign, where men of all walks of life will grow mustaches to show awareness and raise funds for prostate cancer, will also pull focus from elsewhere, but for two key markets with a great visual, a solid social media play and a string cause tied to brand, the Head-to-head Challenge looks like a winner.