A few of my friends and I, we have this ongoing conversation about the rider-worship the surrounds Valentino Rossi. I imagine all the greats in sports have their fanatics – the ladies that would do anything for one night with Michael Jordan, the guys that would lick the sweat off Danica Patrick, and of course the thousands of only slightly more well-balanced individuals who spend their fandom amassing countless amounts of branded apparel and accessories.

In the big picture, it is all about the power of an athlete’s personal brand, which in reality functions and is no different than the brand of a corporation. In that regard, maybe we shouldn’t be surprised when we find superfans, who have vast collections of Rossi memorabilia, and follow The Doctor’s career (and personal life) with astute attention. After all, are these individuals any more different than the collector who has only Ducati superbikes in his/her dream garage? Not really.

Yet, there is something profoundly strange about adult…heterosexual…men who fawn over the nine-time World Champion with vigor only surpassed by the unbridled love that 12-year-old girls show The Bieber. The video after the jump is clearly Bridgestone tapping into this star power of VR46 in its most extreme form. But honestly, if you saw this Rossi superfan at a race, would you really be that surprised?

Source: Mission Rossi

  • That was mildly disturbing on a number of levels.

  • Paul McMenamin

    So Bridgestone envisions its customers as weirdo, faceless stalkers wearing yellow body suits. Very creepy, and it certainly doesn’t make me want to go out and buy Bridgestones. I think some marketing dude was high when they dreamed up this very unsettling video. It’s neither funny nor interesting — just creepy.

  • Alex MacPherson

    Aye Carumba! What were they thinking?!?

  • TexusTim

    What can you say…’s about rossi and his obessed fan base……he plays to them so it’s all in fun.
    For me it’s all about the racing, he is still competitive so lets see if that translates into podiums this year
    I would hate to think that he is reduced to brand marketing for his start power rather than his ability to still win and be on the podium at most rounds…….i think it’s time for him to get real serious about winning or retirement, not silly brand marketing…leave that to the rookies, he’s a legend time for him to start acting like one…I would like to see commercials that show you want bridgestones because rossi use’s and wins on them not a “dumming down” of a motogp legend for advertising dollars and riding on fan loyalty rather than a winning combination.

  • Creepness level: Max; broken and gone through into space.

  • paulus – Thailand

    He is taking the money… milking the bucks whilst he can.

  • Gritboy

    Ugh. What a lame ass ad.

  • L2C

    It’s a figment of the imagination — I totally get it. Clever ad.

  • a tom

    While fans for the most part are more on the casual side, there’s a subsection for some sports which can get scary like that, be it football, basketball or others (Messi fans can be like that!).

    And similar to the point of Rossi retiring, many fans would’ve loved it if Jordan’s last moments in the NBA included the final shot he took in Game 6 of the ’98 Finals. He wasn’t bad while he played for Washington, but he was nowhere near the dominance shown with the Bulls. Still, his decision, he still felt he needed to play and enjoyed doing so, can’t fault him for that. Same thing with Rossi.