By now, lots of people know Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is razor smart, but the story behind his marketing deal with Indianapolis-based audio company Klipsch reveals something about his character.
Klipsch CEO Paul Jacobs told IBJ this week that he passed on signing deals with numerous NFL quarterbacks, including Luck’s “arch nemesis,” before making Luck the pitchman in August.
Jacobs could tell Luck was different from the start.
“Andrew Luck is one of the nicest, most sincere guys I’ve ever met,” Jacobs said. “He’s just so humble.”
When Luck attended the Mumford & Sons concert this year at Klipsch Music Center in Hamilton County, Jacobs said Luck insisted on being treated like everybody else.
“He wouldn’t accept any VIP treatment,” Jacobs said. “He wouldn’t accept anything. He just loves live music and wanted to go and enjoy the show like everybody else. I could see from the start, he’s our kind of guy."
Jacobs' experience with other high-profile athletes hasn't been as pleasant.
“We were approached by one of the flashiest quarterbacks in the league, one that was slapped all over the headlines,” Jacobs said. “I sat face-to-face with him in Chicago, and walked out of that meeting and said ‘No way.’ We just didn’t agree on our philosophies on life. And if you don’t agree on your philosophies on life, you’re going to have difficulties agreeing on your philosophies on business.”
Klipsch, which is known for its speakers, headphones and other audio equipment, also has deals with Colts defensive lineman Robert Mathis and Indiana Pacers center Roy Hibbert.
“They have a sincere interest in our products,” Jacobs said. “We don’t want someone who says ‘Give me a check and I’ll say your product is cool.’ That’s the norm with a lot of athletes.
“We want [our endorsers] to be brutally honest with us and tell us what they’d really like to see come to market.”
Luck, who graduated from Stanford with an architectural degree, has said he hopes to help Klipsch engineers design products during the off-season.
Luck also is known for going above and beyond the call of duty off the field.
At the Mumford & Sons concert, without being asked, he began mixing with the crowd, talking up Klipsch products and handing out company-labeled koozies.
Hibbert and Mathis also exhibit a genuine—and unusual—interest in being involved in the company.
“Roy’s agent said he didn’t want a bunch of endorsements,” Jacobs explained. “He wasn’t looking for a bunch of money. He wanted to learn how to be a brand ambassador and how a company works. He has a smart head for business and is eager to learn all he can. Those are definitely the kind of people we want affiliated with Klipsch.”