Piotr Jakubowski – Mind over Marketing

Falling Stars
February 3, 2009, 10:45 am
Filed under: advertising, marketing | Tags: , , , ,

michael-phelpsThere’s a great quote, and whether it be from a movie or from one of the greats of philosophy, it stands true – “With great power comes great responsibility.”

This holds especially true for the members of society constantly in the spotlight – movie stars, musicians and athletes. With their personal images and brands come lucrative endorsement deals, a great source of income for both the company and the person.

A few of these stars have fallen off the top, losing the support of these companies along the way. Carmelo Anthony lost support from United Airlines a few years ago after his DUI among other artists.

Shockwaves hit the sports world the other day when photos of Michael Phelps smoking marijuana were found in tabloid newspapers. America’s posterboy from the Olympics was caught doing something illegal. Despite his invincibility in the pool, on dry land he is still just like everyone else. What’s worse is that he has been shaped into a role model for children everywhere.

Despite Speedo and Omega both confirming that they do not condone his behavior, they decided to keep him on board. And rightly so. Despite this slip-up, Phelps is still the phenom in the water. Dropping him would be like Nike dropping LeBron James, or Oreos dropping Peyton Manning. Though LeBron and Peyton haven’t slipped up (at least not in the public eye) they are at the height of their careers.

Did Kobe get dinged after news of his affair spread? Or did Cristiano Ronaldo, Manchester United’s superstar and soon to be the most expensive football player in the world lose contracts after tabloids discovered he organized orgies at his house?

But if you’re not in the spotlight, your shining star and fifteen minutes can be gone in a second. Michael Vick ring a bell?

With great power comes great responsibility. Being in the spotlight is like walking on thin ice. And like bad PR for a real brand, a personal brand can suffer the same fate. New Coke was canned almost instantly, and companies like Firestone are constantly battling PR to strengthen their image.

Let’s see what Phelps’ PR team has to say about this fall through the crack. 


1 Comment so far
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Phelps might have made alienated a few people with that pot-smoking picture, but i think he gained the support of another huge group of people to take their place

Comment by coffee

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