The face behind the meme seen around the world (and the internet) for a decade is getting paid for his image.
It’s been widely reported that Popeyes confirmed they signed Collin to an NIL deal, which includes featuring him on a billboard near his hometown in New Jersey. The deal comes 10 years after a video of the then 9-year-old hilariously eyeing the camera while holding a soft drink cup from the fried chicken brand went viral.
“A lot can happen with the power of the internet behind you!” Collin said in a news release. “I can’t believe I can say I’m officially sponsored by Popeyes. Thank you to everyone who helped spread the good word!”
Now a college football star at Lake Erie College in Ohio, the deal follows his pivotal role in winning his high school winning a state championship.
“I thought this is probably the opportunity I can get with Popeyes to at least reach out,” Collin shared in an interview with Sportscenter, explaining he’d asked his followers to tag Popeyes about a sponsorship.
He joins other college athletes that have inked NIL deals, signaling a concerted effort for brands to pay them for their likeness after years of schools leveraging them for marketing purposes for free.
For example, as ESSENCE previously reported, artists like Wiz Khalifa extended to 25 college athletes under his Taylor Gang Entertainment label. On3 reported that, Taylor Gang Entertainment has enlisted the help of athletes to promote his song “45 Minute Beatdown” featuring Lil Uzi Vert. The agreement, which was brokered by the A&P Agency, required each of the athlete to post a clip of themselves dancing while the song played on their Instagram Stories. For the action, the athletes were reportedly compensated an undisclosed amount. This is the one of earliest adoptions of a record label NIL deal, which enables college athletes to profit from their image and influence through endorsement deals.
Collin said that social media played a pivotal role in changing his life and thanked his following for the new opportunities coming his way.
“I just want to thank everyone for going in the comments and tagging Popeyes,” he told ESPN. “That actually led me to where I’m at now, so I’m grateful for that.”