Julio Jones may have football on his mind but his feet have him heading to Waffle House. The Alabama native and Atlanta Falcons wide receiver was spotted Thursday after practice wearing detailed cleats with the name of one of the South's favorite food joints on the side.
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“The value of this kind of media could be upwards of a million dollars or more if Waffle House runs with it and even more if the nickname were to stick. The NFL isn't going to want this to happen again - without their cut - so Waffle House needs to get on this and stretch it out ... otherwise it will die out quickly and [the] value will be lost,” Larry Weil, a sponsorship and engagement strategist, told Fox Business. Weil was referring to the fact that the NFL typically gets a cut of pro branded apparel sales.
Jones teased before his press conference that if the media session went well, he would buy the chain's "All-Star Special" for the journalists in attendance.
Aside from the joke at the start of the press conference, this is major exposure for Waffle House and its 2,100 locations throughout the country. Jones is a major NFL star who played college football at powerhouse Alabama, giving him incredible reach and exposure. He has half-a-million followers on Twitter and more than one million on Instagram.
“The value of Julio Jones putting Waffle House on his cleats at practice is going to keep growing, especially if Waffle House leverages it. Waffle House is known for not advertising, which is unusual for a billion dollar company, even if it is privately held. The company is based in Norcross, Georgia so the team, player and geography is like hitting the trifecta,” said Weil.
“The question is how much is it worth to a company that doesn't advertise? They are on Facebook and Instagram, but as of this morning there are no re-posts of any of the flurry of coverage,” he added.
It's unlikely that there is a paid sponsorship deal in place. A request from Fox Business to Waffle House for comment was not answered at the time of publication.
But Weil still sees this as a chance for Waffle House to push its brand as Jones gave them an unexpected touchdown with his designed cleats.
“A typical billion dollar company would be all over this posting and expanding the coverage and PR. This kind of unpaid media is the kind of thing most companies dream of, it is 100 percent authentic. The tie-in of Julio being ‘always open’ is great,” Weil said. (Waffle House is a 24-7 establishment.)