London, Nov 28 : U.S. president-elect Barack Obama has inadvertently become the latest high-profile sportswear-endorser.
Obama's love of the gym and the basketball court is famous, and companies are happy to cash in on the regular photographs of the President-elect sporting his favourite name-brand gear.
The current presidential favourite appears to be Nike. When Obama strolled down a Hawaii beach in August, it was a Nike t-shirt that he wore. When he showed off his basketball skills in a school challenge in April, his trainers bore the distinctive logo. On occasions he has turned himself into a veritable walking billboard, sporting Nike from head-to-toe.
Nike says the company is pleased that so stylish a figure favours its products.
"We don't make a point of giving the president-elect any products for free, but we're glad that he has such good taste in sportswear, whether he's working it out or taking it easy," Times Online quoted Nike spokesman Charlie Brooks, as saying.
The North Face, the California-based outdoor wear company, has also benefited from a presidential endorsement. Pictures of Obama in one of their fleece jackets were splashed across the pages of the world's newspapers after he wore it to take his daughters to school just five days after his election victory; he was pictured wearing it again on a gym trip the following week.
And while Obama doesn't charge brands like Nike and North Face a thing to be seen wearing their logos, his fashion choices may be worth millions, according to branding experts.
Nigel Currie, Director of Sports Marketing at Brand Rapport, said if a brand featured in iconic photos of the President-Elect that appeared over and over again, it could theoretically boost their profits by "hundreds of millions".
However he noted that Obama's tendency to mix up his logos could detract from the impact.