Serena: Athlete, Actor, Designer, Bunion Wrangler

Serena Williams today at provides us some of the best guerrilla sports marketing on the web I’ve seen.

Serena Willaims nail school

In an ad masquerading as a blog post, Serena chronicles her first day as a student at a Nail Tech school:

No one likes getting their nails done more than I do. As a matter of fact I go every 4 days to get a manicure and every 7 days for a pedicure. So, I had a brilliant idea to get certified to be a nail tech.

Wait for it…

Besides the fact that I am coming out with a nail collection from a company called HairTech, I thought “Serena this is a no brainer.”

Amazingly though in the post there’s no overt sales pitch - not even a link the sponsor. Her account seems personal and genuine and the pics are cool - if you’re a Serena fan.

Yes, the blog post is basically an advertisement, but in this case it’s tolerable because there appears to be at least a modicum of integrity to what’s being presented.

But is it possible for any of the cartoonly popular athletes to do anything on the web these days without integrating a sponsor into it? Jamming product placement into every single mention actually causes the reader to be less likely to follow the athlete’s Tweets, Facebook entries or blog posts. Not to mention getting linked on legit blogs (like this one) impossible.

Generating thoughtful, non-sponsored entries makes the sponsored messages infinitely more powerful. But 99% of the time, the effort or ingenuity isn’t there.