SPRING, Texas - She struck gold in a major way, bringing home five medals in gymnastics at the 2016 Rio Olympics, and for Spring native Simone Biles, the Olympic Gold is just the beginning of her good fortune.
Betsy Gelb, professor of marketing and entrepreneurship in the Bauer College of Business at the University of Houston, said Biles will be the golden girl for many companies looking to partner with her to pitch their products.
"JJ Watt is going to be the guy for endorsements, and she's going to be the woman for endorsements that people, like, care about, just enjoy looking at," Gelb said.
Before the Rio games were over, commercials with the pint-size powerhouse using Tide Pods hit the airwaves, and instead of her face on a box of Wheaties, Biles chose Special K Red Berries. Why? Because she eats them.
Nellie Biles, Simone Biles' mom, said Simone has given great consideration to the companies she's aligned herself with.
"It has to be something that she can associate herself with. So if it's something that she eats, yeah, she'll do it," Nellie Biles said.
Nellie Biles said that when it came down to which brands the Olympic star would endorse, the choice was simple.
"Up to this point, every sponsor that Simone has, she has used their product or one way or the other," she said.
Simone Biles recently signed deals with Hershey's, Nike and United Airlines. The take home was estimated at $2 million and climbing.
For big companies, choosing a celebrity spokesperson comes down to trust.
"From the consumer standpoint, it's hard to think of a large company's brand as a friend," Gelb said. "It's easy to think about a human being as a friend, or somebody you'd like to have as a friend."
Gelb said that the stakes are high and image is everything. That might explain why it didn't take long for Ryan Lochte to lose his endorsement deals with Speedo and Ralph Lauren after the allege robbery scandal.
"There's a clause in any endorsement contract that says for moral, who knows what, turpitude, this contract is immediately canceled and certainly, that's what happened to Ryan," Gelb said.
As for Simone Biles, Gelb said her future in the commercial business will only get brighter.
"She is a combination, if you think about it -- talent and a smile, and being 19 is a plus," Gelb said.
Simone Biles is set to release her memoir, "Courage to Soar," on Nov. 15, a move which is sure to add more to her estimated worth.
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