So, it appears that the ever-political Kingsford charcoal brand has decided to pick a fight with the National Collegiate Athletic Association. Wait, what?
Here's a first: An endorsement targeting the NCAA. Kingsford is selling charcoal bags featuring Ed O'Bannon's image. pic.twitter.com/OtyFjbel1u
— Jeff Eisenberg (@JeffEisenberg) February 27, 2015
If you can’t see what’s on that speciality Kingsford charcoal bag in the tweet, it says, “Lights 25% Faster, Doesn’t Burn Any Athletes.” Then, below, it depicts former UCLA basketball player Ed O’Bannon alongside #PayEd.
We don’t know why the brand has decided to go after the NCAA, but it’s funny. According to Yahoo, Kingsford will give O’Bannon a dollar every time someone uses #PayEd (for the first 25,000 tweets anyway), an obvious jab at the NCAA’s unwillingness to compensate college athletes outside of tuition, room and board.
Of course, #PayEd is a clear attempt to manipulate our emotions in hopes of spreading the word about a “fun” brand, but we’ll allow it in this case because it’s a clever and genuinely rebellious idea.
The brand also released a funny statement, via For The Win:
Kingsford Charcoal has become one of the many companies to use the likeness of a former amateur basketball player for marketing purposes during that mad, mad month of March. Kingsford is just adding a surprising twist: the charcoal brand is actually going to pay that player -- Ed O’Bannon -- for placing him on the front of a limited bag of charcoal.
O’Bannon headed up and won a lawsuit against the NCAA last year over a rule that disallowed college athletes from seeing a cent of the money made off their images and likenesses in NCAA broadcasts and video games. It was and remains a big deal.