An alumnus makes his national television debut while marketing deodorant


Through his job as brand manager with the Dial Corp., Erick Dickens ’96 was put in charge of successfully launching the new line of Right Guard Total Defense 5 deodorant. And what better way to make a big splash than enlisting the help of contestants on NBC’s reality show “The Celebrity Apprentice” as they sweat it out under the watchful eye of none other than Donald Trump?

Erick Dickens ’96, holding a basketball, was a judge on the NBC
reality show “Celebrity Apprentice,” featuring Donald Trump, at
center. Also pictured are, from left, George Ross and Ivanka Trump,
regulars on the show, and Dickens’ colleague Dan Fietsom.

In launching the campaign, Dickens made his national TV debut on “The Celebrity Apprentice” as a judge in helping determine the final commercial that will be used to spread the Right Guard message around the world. “The filming lasts up to 12 hours each day and the production may use only five minutes of footage from the day. It is important to maintain your poise and energy throughout the entire filming,” said Dickens. “Also, after a while, you completely forget you are being filmed. It was at times a challenge to remember that everything I said and did throughout the course of the day was being recorded.”

The national media campaign for the new line of deodorant will include television commercials, digital videos, point-of-purchase marketing, sweepstakes and of course, “The Celebrity Apprentice” appearance seen by millions of Americans on April 11.

On the show, the celebrity contestants, divided into a male team and female team, were assigned a former NBA player, Scottie Pippen or Clyde Drexler, to produce the Right Guard commercial. The celebrities featured were Bill Goldberg, Curtis Stone, Bret Michaels, Carol Liefer, Sharon Osbourne, Summer Sanders, Selita Ebanks, Darryl Strawberry, Holly Robinson Peete, Maria Kanellis, Michael Johnson, Rod Blagojevich, Cyndi Lauper and Sinbad.

The winning commercial featured Drexler in a humorous 30-second shot made by the male celebrity team. “The men’s team delivered a creative concept that is consistent with the Right Guard brand strategy and, more specifically, the launch of Right Guard Total Defense 5,” said Dickens.

Dickens is no stranger to “the Donald.” Before his recent turn in front of the cameras, he worked behind the scenes with Mark Burnett Productions on “The Apprentice” in 2006 on another ad campaign launch. Future plans to work with Mark Burnett Productions are uncertain, but the company has proven to be an invaluable partner. “I have no doubt that we will work together again in the future,” said Dickens.

Dickens’ experiences have influenced other students at WCU to follow in his footsteps, including his younger brother, Brian Dickens ’08, a computer information systems major. “My brother is the reason why I chose to attend WCU,” said Brian Dickens. “I’ve always admired his accomplishments, and I am very proud of him.”

Erick Dickens wants students to know there are oppor-tunities to become successful at the national level after leaving Western Carolina. “It is important to do well at Western Carolina,” he said. “The success habits you develop there will continue to help you succeed long after graduation.”

Sky Kanott is an intern in WCU’s Office of Public Relations.