As a college and NFL player, Marshawn Lynch has proven himself.
During his three-year career at Cal, he amassed over 3,000 rushing yards and 37 touchdowns. In his nine-year NFL career, he’s run for over 9,000 yards and has 83 total touchdowns. His 67-yard scoring run in the Seahawks’ wild card game against the Saints in 2011, where he broke nine tackles, earned him the nickname “Beast Mode.” Aside from the increasingly annoying Instagram gym photos tagged with that title, no man is more synonymous with the term than Lynch.
The public, and brand marketers, have taken his personality and practices, such as his post-touchdown Skittles meal, and made him into a recognizable figure both on and off the field.
Need proof? Check out the X-Box “Game Day Evolution” commercial featuring Lynch, Drew Brees, Clay Matthews and Richard Sherman. He was being himself in the ad and stole the show by simply saying, “Bruh, I’ve been here the whole time.”
Aside from his on field “Beast Mode” play and name, it could be said that Lynch is most widely recognized for his Super Bowl media session where his sole answer was “I’m only here so I don’t get fined.” Frustrating for the press and the NFL, yet hilarious and entertaining for everyone else.
This is the ultimate manifestation of Marshawn’s genius. Not only did he avoid being fined, but he was able to simultaneously promote his “Beast Mode” apparel line and sell shirts with his most memorable lines. One of those was the one he gave Deion Sanders during their “secret” conversation at Super Bowl media day, where he said he was simply, “About that action, Boss,” and, of course, his infamous, “I’m just here so I don’t get fined.”
But Lynch isn’t just doing it for some laughs or to fill his pockets; some of the proceeds from the sale of his apparel line goes towards his Fam 1st Family Foundation, which was created to help underprivileged youth. This isn’t some charity simply using his name to garner attention, press and profit.
He partnered with Starbucks to create “Beast Mode Frappuccino” and twenty-four cents from every drink sold in Washington state and Oakland, California — Lynch’s hometown — will go towards the Foundation. The coffee chain also donated $24,000 to start the partnership and plans to donate up to $100,000 in proceeds.
To add to his continuing success, this week it was announced that Lynch was given trademark approval for the phrase “I’m just here so I won’t get fined” by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office, joining Lynch’s roster of three existing trademarks including “Beast Mode” which was approved in 2009.
Now while this is all very interesting and fun, people ultimately fail to realize just how much of a genius Lynch really is. He has created a pop culture presence without doing anything other than being himself.
He never publicized the Skittles habit, it was something he just did. He didn’t anoint himself “Beast Mode,” he earned it by running over the Saints.
Next to Ice Cube, with his trademark scowl, I can’t think of another celebrity who has made more out of simply being himself than Lynch.
And that, is genius.