Why did this not happen three seasons ago, when Lynch was first seen gobbling Skittles on the sidelines of a televised game? Because Skittles, which is owned by the Mars, Inc. corporation, has never done athlete endorsement deals before. While NASCAR driver Ernie Irvan drove a No. 36 Skittles car for two years in the late 1990s, that sponsorship was owned by Mars and they switched it to an M&Ms car in 1999. That was really just an ad on a Ginn Racing car, not a personal endorsement.
But the rainbow is officially back in sports as Marshawn Lynch has an endorsement deal with Skittles. ESPN's Darren Rovell reports that financial terms are unknown, but there will be limited edition Seattle Mix Skittles and Mars, Inc. will donate $10,000 to the Fam First Foundation for every touchdown Lynch scores in the Super Bowl.
For Skittles, this is money well spent. AdAge magazine estimates that between on-air mentions, Skittle showers and Twitter mentions, Marshawn Lynch's Skittles obsession has netted $5 million worth of free publicity for Skittles since 2011.
Lynch's Skittles obsession goes back to his middle school days. In a lengthy interview on Seahawks.com, Lynch's mother Delisa said, "When Marshawn was 12 or 13, we’d go to his games and I’d always have little candies in my purse. Before the game, I would say, ‘Here Marshawn, come and get you power pellets'."
“I would give him a handful of Skittles and say, ‘Eat ’em up, baby. They’re going to make you run fast and they’re going to make you play good.”
There is no credible scientific evidence that Skittles improve athletic performance. But they did help Marshawn Lynch find himself a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow.