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The Patriots lost to the Denver Broncos in last Sunday’s AFC Championship, as we know. And even though the Broncos’ victory and ensuing Super Bowl trip served to brighten the already blinding spotlight on quarterback Peyton Manning, some of his comments and behavior, both during and after Denver’s two playoff victories, must have gotten the frontal lobes of PR pros humming.

Manning, almost as famous a pitchman as a football player, did nothing to take away from that persona with his regular shouts of “Omaha!” while calling signals at the line of scrimmage, or his casual confession that all he wanted was “a Bud Light in his mouth” immediately following Denver’s divisional round win over the San Diego Chargers. The latter comment may well have been planned but regardless, both the “Omaha” call and the Bud Light plug created a laundry list of promotional opportunities. (By the way, “Omaha” is something both Tom Brady and Peyton’s little brother Eli have been calling out while awaiting the snap from center for years, not that any of the breathless reports on Peyton’s endless, screaming plugs for the biggest city in Nebraska would have you know it.)

Work with a restaurant that serves Omaha Steaks? Boom!

How about a bar or lounge that sells Anheuser-Busch products? Presto!

Do any business with Mutual of Omaha?

You can probably see where we’re going with this.

Manning is a walking endorsement, even when he’s not popping up in every third commercial. He’s selling something at all times, even while clinically dissecting the Pats’ makeshift defense en route to an AFC title. The publicist’s job is to see these kinds of opportunities and pounce.

Suddenly, there are potential promotions, events, sponsorships, and branding opportunities. I’d be willing to bet that in Denver, any publicist worth a salt was on the phone with or sending an email to his or her hospitality client with a bulleted list of how to capitalize both on the “Omaha” call and the Bud Light line before the post-game press conference was even over.

The overarching point is simple. Ideas, and the seeds of those ideas, are everywhere. For all the research that goes into finding the best places and angles with which to pitch clients, sometimes all that’s necessary is watching a football game.

-Jeremy Gottlieb

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