By Barry Janoff
March 21, 2012: Jeremy Lin is your new global brand ambassador for Volvo, the first major non-basketball related endorsement deal for the New York Knicks point guard.
Financial terms of the two-year deal were not disclosed.
Volvo's focus with Lin will be a multi-media push Lin in China, the United States and the Chinese language market in Asia.
Lin, a virtual unknown his first year and a half in the NBA, became the Knicks starting point guard in early February when the team and then head coach Mike D'Antoni were out of other options. He immediately became a local sensation with his on-court skills, then saw his fame go national and global.
"Linsanity" was based as much on his basketball skills as his unique background: an undrafted Harvard graduate of Taiwanese heritage who was on the verge of being cut by the team before getting his time in the spotlight.
"Jeremy has become a global cultural phenomena due to his unique combination of athletic skills and personal values," John Maloney, president and CEO, Volvo Cars, North America, said during a media event in New York on March 20. "He really embodies the best of the human spirit."
"We have a comfortable market share with his former Harvard professors, and now we would like to reach out to all of his fans over the world."
According to Richard Monturo, vp-marketing, sales, customer service, Volvo Car Corp., "We've been excited in watching [his] story unfold. It is a human story. About potential and realizing your dreams. . . I joked with Jeremy that we have a comfortable market share with his former Harvard professors, and now we would like to reach out to all of his fans over the world."
Lin also has a deal with Nike, which is planning a signature shoe. He is expected to sign more endorsement deals by season's end. In addition, the Knicks and Madison Square Garden have recently signed marketing deals with two Asian-based companies, tech firm Acer and tire company Maxxis.
The Volvo deal came just hours before the Knicks defeated the Toronto Raptors for the team's fourth consecutive win. The Knicks have been hot and cold since Lin entered the starting line-up, with the 4-0 mark following a six-game losing streak that saw D'Antoni being replaced as head coach by Mike Woodson.
True to form, Lin took the deal in stride.
"It's very exciting for me to become a part of the Volvo family and become a brand ambassador," Lin said during the media event. "Why Volvo? Fundamentals, the foundation that the company is built upon, what they stand for. High quality but a very affordable price. Also, some of the things they believe in: Power, toughness, strong materials, safety. Continued progress, to continue to get better every day, every year."
Lin, who is averaging 14.8 points and 6.4 assists per game this season (through March 20), added, "Hopefully, with Volvo, I can inspire kids to pursue their dreams and be a good role model."