Jordy Nelson is not catching touchdown passes for the Green Bay Packers this season, but that doesn't keep him from scoring points.
Nelson's playing status has not affected his ongoing endorsement deals. In fact, his absence from the field and its effect on the Packers is talked about so much his public profile is nearly as great as if he was playing.
"It helps if you are on the field making plays, no doubt about it," said Shawn Smith, co-founder of X-A-M Sports in Madison, which represents Packers cornerback Casey Hayward, but not Nelson. "But even when he's not there, they are still talking about him."
Nelson's actions as he recovers from his injury reinforce the qualities that make him attractive to Associated Banc-Corp. and Bellin Health, two of his business partners.
"He's here in Green Bay, still attending all the practices and games and serving that mentorship role," said Christopher Piotrowski, senior vice president and chief marketing officer for Associated Banc-Corp.
Associated signed three Packers receivers — Nelson, Davante Adams and Randall Cobb — as its spokesmen after an agreement with quarterback Aaron Rodgers expired. Even off the field, Nelson mentors his teammates, who are newer to the endorsement business, Piotrowski said. It's a theme Associated reflected in one of its ads.
Bellin Health has a two-year agreement with Nelson, which doesn't include personal appearances. The objective of his participation is to get Bellin's message about preventative health screenings to the largest number of people possible, said David Sengkhammee, Bellin director of marketing. He has a backstory that is easy for Bellin clients to relate to.
"From a personal attribute, he's a Midwestern guy," Sengkhammee said. "He grew up with humble beginnings, a work ethic. He goes back home (to Kansas) to work on the farm in the offseason."
Bellin paired Nelson with Patrick Fabian, its long-time celebrity spokesman known to most people as The Bellin Guy, in its Real Men Don't Wait campaign. Bellin uses humor in an attempt to encourage men, especially, to take such actions as prostate and colon screening.
"The use of sports and humor was a perfect approach to take for this campaign. That's what men respond to," Sengkhammee said.
Nelson has proven himself a good sport, as evident in his Travel Wisconsin video from 2013.
Smith said injuries are not usually an impediment to endorsement agreements, as getting cut, traded, retired or legal trouble would be. She said they try to address all possibilities in endorsement contracts.
"At the end of the day, I'd like my player to get paid just for having a nice smile, but he'll probably have to perform," she said.
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