but I don't get how this is germane to the discussion AT ALL
It's not intended to touch on anything more than marketing.
If I'm marketing a product I first examine who my customer is, what my product is and then move from there. Back in the day JB and Pete were everywhere as far as ads, then Boomer, Paul O'Neil use to pitch Famous Recipe Chicken. Lately the only Reds employee I've seen in a commercial is barry now and then and Marty or Joe.
Sean has tenure, is a avowed middle america guy with a family and a firm handshake and a look in your eye. That's apple pie and ice cream in the marketing world, a guy like that having a monster year is marketing gold,especially in a market that is predominatly white and a fan base that is predominatley white it's a puzzle piece that can't be denied.
Even if it isn't PC to the core.