пятница, 2 марта 2012 г.

Jimmer: He's got game -- and a name

Kay Fredette may have just thought it was cute, a play on a nameor a neat little twist on a family trend of naming brothers, unclesand cousins James.

Either that, or Kay Fredette is a genius.

Kay named her second and youngest son James, but she decided hewould be called to dinner as "Jimmer."

That simple but catchy, funny little name has become viral and istaking the country by storm.

Jimmer is a nickname that stuck.

Jimmer Fredette's birth certificate reads: James Fredette. ButJames is something he's never answered to. As the story goes,however, Kay Fredette only called her youngest by his full name ifshe was mad at him.

So, here you have Kay, who one day early in her son's crib life,decided her baby would be called Jimmer. She had a glimmer.

She hit it out of the park.

New York's Madison Avenue is full of advertising and marketingmoguls who accept hundreds of thousands of dollars to promote brandnames and corporate products. They research and study labels andnicknames like LEGOs, iPad, iPhone, iTunes and how to market Tiger,Shaq, MJ, Dexter or Elvis. Then they exploit it.

These one-word labels must be catchy. They must be tied tosomething people like and can relate to. It must resonate. It musthave intrinsic value. It must perform and establish itself. It mustrepresent an idea, concept or trademark and become a noteworthybrand that works.

Nobody paid anyone to research the word "Jimmer," but Kay pulledoff a Madison-Avenue trick as potent as any designed marketing planany in those elbow-patch jacketed brainiacs could imagine.

"Get your Jimmer on," "You got Jimmered" and "That guy just did aJimmer."

It's becoming a chorus.

A white kid without tattoos plastered on his shoulders and a kidwho looks like a Boy Scout, but he has the moves of a HarlemGlobetrotter? A guy who takes a simple athletic body not built forspeed or power and takes over a game with perfected skills thatremind people of The Pistol?

Fredette is a humble kid with a sincere smile and he is liked,respected and actually hugged by opposing players. He's a guy who aSportsCenter TV anchor asked Wednesday why he's a Mormon when hismother is Catholic. He's a guy who now needs police escorts at thetame Marriott Center in Provo.

Jimmer has become a brand that works.

In the business, we call a word like "Jimmer" a tag or a soundbite. "Jimmer" is a machine-gun tag. Like Cher, Bond, Eminem orSnoop, Jimmer has achieved one-name status and become a style andcraze -- a sort of mania.

The name and word "Jimmer" is spreading across the face ofbasketball in America. The most watched and listened to mediaoutlets in the country are calling Jimmer Fredette the face ofcollege basketball in 2011.

Anchors on ESPN's SportsCenter as well as other cable networkshave adopted the "Jimmer" label. It's a term plied by sportswritersin newspapers and bloggers on the Internet. It has become part ofthe slang of the sport -- a cliche, the rage.

Sportscasters like "Jimmer" because it's a tag they can throw outin a 20-second report that is descriptive. You say it and it coversa move or a shot, and folks know what you mean.

It is taking on a life of its own.

After No. 9 BYU's win over No. 4 San Diego State on Wednesdaynight, Jimmer became one of the hottest trends on Twitter the nextday. There were a thousand tweets generated about Jimmer in a 30-minute time span.

Tweeters nationwide tweeted that Jimmer gave new meeting to"Marriott Points."

Another said if a character on HBO's series "Big Love" didn'tname their next baby Jimmer, they'd stop watching the show.

NBA and college basketball stars from coast to coast tweetedabout Jimmer.

It became a spontaneous explosion.

We're a country that loves this kind of stuff; these kinds offads like the Hoola Hoop or pet rock, so Jimmer kind of fits.

The Urban Dictionary has adopted "Jimmer" as a noun and verb inpop culture.

As a verb, it means "to succeed at something in an exceptionalmanner. Named after BYU point guard Jimmer Fredette," saysUrbandictionary.com. "Jimmer: One who is in range as soon as hesteps off the bus."

As in "We tried to extend our defense, but he went Jimmer on us."

Newsfeed.com, owned by Times, is a site that tracks stories andpersonalities that become trends. The site had a headline that read"BYU's Jimmer Fredette: Basketball's First Twitter Legend."

Jimmermania is on.

It is hot, but it could fade with losses or poor performances.Then again, it could rebound with spectacular moves, clips, makingTop-10 lists or more wins.

It is elastic and will stretch with BYU and its star into MarchMadness.

It helps that Kay's son is the nation's leading scorer and isaveraging more than 27 points a game.

It helps that as the Jimmer Show got traction in early Januaryand that he's averaged 32.42 points in seven games this month, whichincluded a cameo appearance against Fresno Pacific in which hescored just 13.

It helps that as the mania started with his 47 points at Utah,he's averaged a whopping 38.25 points his last four games while theiron is still hot -- or Jimmerfied -- and everyone's peeking at hisJimmerized game.

Kay Fredette loves her son. She never doubted him or his ability.She may not care he doesn't even have a Twitter account, althoughhe's burned that social media up this week.

But to name him Jimmer? Brilliant.

e-mail: dharmon@desnews.com

TWITTER: Harmonwrites

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