Careful readers of the ShaqFu Radio blog know that just earlier this week, we posted about the Big Man’s Big Income for last year. Even with his NBA career long over, Shaq continues to bring in solid cash from his commercials, endorsements and investments. Today… something a little different. A quick roundup of a few of the products O’Neal got involved with that were – shall we say? – not quite stellar successes.
Shoes and clothes? You betcha. What superstar NBA player (or former player) doesn’t have that? But for O’Neal, it’s been soooo much more. Along with guys like Michael Jordan and LeBron James, Shaq is a brand spokesman, TV commercial pitch-guy, and the “face” of many different products, from pizza to car insurance.
The Big Man and Mr. Big (the candy bar). Created by Cadbury (yes, the company that does those yummy Easter eggs), the Mr. Big featured kid-favorite ingredients; chocolate, caramel, peanuts, wafers and rice snaps. It all added up to a candy bar with a gooey center with a little bit of snap. There he was, right on the wrapper! Still, it seemed the treat never really caught on, and it didn’t last long on convenience store shelves. If you’re really interested, we’ve seen a few (still!) for sale on the ‘net, so if you’re looking for a 20 year-old taste, head on over to Mr. Google and search for Mr. Big. (See the video below).
Real students of Shaq’s interests will know that O’Neal has always had an interest in martial arts, and that turned into a product as well. How about that ShaqFu video game? Back in 2014, we saw the debut of Shaqdown 2 (yes, there was a Shaqdown 1…).
Strange? Yes! Popular? Not so much. The fight / kung fu game featured not only Shaq, but also the on-screen likenesses of Muhammad Ali and actor / martial arts star Jet Li. Even though video games were then – and still are – huge money makers, this one didn’t really get big-time attention.
Everyone knows O’Neal is huge in the food and restaurant business. (Papa John’s Pizza, Five Guys Burgers, Krispy Kreme Donuts, etc., etc.) One of his not-so-big deals came when he tried to get into the beverage game in 2013. Partnering with the Arizona Iced Tea company, Shaq helped produce “Shaq Soda.”
The drinks were a line of all-natural cream sodas hoping to grab people with both delicious flavor and a recognizable name behind them. For some reason (who knows what consumers are thinking?!?), this one didn’t catch on either. But again, internet to the rescue. Word is there are a few unopened cans of Shaq Soda available out there. Recently, a box of four unopened cans was spotted for sale for $55.
For some products, Shaq has been more of a promoter and spokesman, without too much influence on the actual product itself. Shaq was a big endorser and fan of the Power Balance bracelet, which promised those who wore it increased balance, strength, flexibility, and energy flow. O’Neal enthusiastically endorsed the product, even though tests showed it didn’t really do anything.
Another Shaq-fav was more of an adult product: vodka. In partnership with the brand Devotion Vodka, the Shaq Luv sub-brand was created. It was a unique sugar-and-gluten-free experience for those looking to take an edge off (in a more healthy way?). Again, a short-lived product that never really took off.
Even with a few glitches, Shaq is still making big waves in business and investing, with a track record very similar to his time on the courts – lots more winners than losers.