Team RadioShack-Nissan-Trek just wrapped up an informal training camp in the Belgian town of Spa. And following tweets from the riders that made the cut onto this new merged team it seems like everything was fantastic. Chris Horner posted that it was good to meet up with the new guys and it’s, “Going to be a great 2012” season. Can’t argue with that. With the cream of both squads combining the RadioShack-Nissan-Trek team could be a dominating force in both the Classics (Fabian Cancellara), the European Grand Tours (Andy Schleck) and as well America’s version in California, Utah and Colorado (Chris Horner). However, there seemed to be a couple of odd tweets by Fabian Cancellara and Andy Schleck that smacked of corporate boilerplate.
The reason I’m such a fan of Twitter is that it has allowed riders to say things off the cuff before the media relations person gets a hold of them to spin it toward a team/sponsor’s message. Mark Cavendish is a great example and I’m sure he has given the team’s p.r. person fits during the season. But hey, that’s why we love him. Cav is just one of several riders that aren’t afraid to pick up their smartphone and let their feeling known in 140 characters (Brad Wiggins – I’m talking to you). But let’s return to Cancellara’s and the Schlecks’ recent tweets.
Spartacus tweeted, “Back after few days with #RadioShack-Nissan-Trek in Spa.. We not only strong on the paper. We already createt nice group and atmosphere.”
The classic “Fabianese” language that has been made famous by @mmmaiko was in full effect. Then a couple of hours later Andy Schleck takes to Twitter with this post.
“Back after few days with RadioShack-Nissan-Trek in Spa We not only strong on the paper We already createt nice group and atmosphere.” This sounds familiar.
In a recent article CNBC sports business reporter Darren Rovell noticed some out of character tweets by the NFL’s Michael Vick.
“Earlier this month, Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Michael Vick tweeted: “Check these prizes from the McDonald’s monopoly game,” and included a link.
Next to the tweet it said “spon,” which I assume meant sponsored.”
Vick also “tweeted” that he was looking for some Thanksgiving recipes. Turns out they were sponsored tweets from a company called MyLikes. At the end of the article Rovell writes, “ And how much are those clicks worth if the celebrity is turning into a shill tweeting out brands that don’t fit them just for a quick buck?”
I realize that both Schleck and Cancellara are professional athletes, as such, paid to promote the sponsor’s brand or message in a positive light and their tweets weren’t a sponsored ad. Although behind the scenes such warm and fuzzy feelings toward this new Luxembourgian created Frankenstein team may not exist, team management still needs to portray a unified public front. My warning is to both Fabian and Andy – don’t ruin your public perception to the fans. Tweets that look to have been issued to you from upper management will do nothing but set you up for ridicule and will turn off your fans. I understand that being pro means pushing the sponsor’s message, but don’t abuse it and don’t make it look so unauthentic. Or at the minimum, when Bruyneel tells you guys to tweet the corporate message, make the effort to at least add your own style.