Piotr Jakubowski – Mind over Marketing

Protecting the Brand
February 6, 2009, 9:00 am
Filed under: advertising, marketing | Tags: , , , ,

michael-phelps-1After discussing how Phelps was exhausting his brand by putting his hands into too many endorsements, after the recent behavior by the Olympic champion we can take a look at the extent a company will go to protect their own brand.

As you may know, Phelps was caught taking a hit from a bong this past weekend, a no-no when you’re in the spotlight as much as he is. This is exacerbated by the fact that he is the posterboy for America’s youth – a young, successful athlete and a great role model. But who wants to support a role model who can’t live up to his own standards?

Kellogg’s was the first to jump ship, announcing today that they wouldn’t extend Phelps contract when it runs out in February. To add salt to the wound, the USA Swimming governing body suspended Phelps for 3 months. (Oh yeah, and Phelps’ threats not to swim in 4 years at the Olympics are just a PR ploy).

Despite many protests and rising support for Phelps (why, he did something illegal and probably broke a clause in his contract), Kellogg’s did the right thing. A brand with a rich history in involvement with children and young adults through products and philanthropic services, Kellogg’s had no other choice. Their role model had failed to live up to his own name.

Phelps’ punishment is justified. Why would someone want their children to look up to someone who can do something illegal and get away with it?

As mentioned before, with great power comes great responsibility. Being in the spotlight is extremely difficult, as with it comes intense and constant public scrutiny. At the same time, it’s not that difficult to make the right decision.




2 Comments so far
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Not nitpicking, more curious, does anyone know what his contracts actually state?

I personally think a large segment of America understands Phelps is human. The days of SuperPerfectBeing role models are quickly dissipating. Barack Freaking Obama admitted he used marijuana and cocaine. The American people made him the most important endorser in the country.

Obama – and I believe is the key – admitted his errors. After years of those in power lying and hiding the truth, I believe Americans no longer expect perfection. They just want honesty. If you did something wrong, admit it.

We can all relate to that moment when you did something wrong and think, “Just give me another chance, I won’t do it again.” And we can all respect those who with the willpower to tell the truth when we have all taken the easy way out and lied.

Does every brand have the right to throw Phelps to the curb? Sure. If his mistake makes him of no value to you as they piggybacking off his success to the tune of millions of dollars, go ahead, shred the contract. But since clearly no brand disowns him on moral high ground – so don’t come clamoring back when Phelps is the most famous man in the world come London and you want to sell a few more cornflakes.

Comment by boguskyrection

[…] dare you to dump Michael Phelps 6 02 2009 In response to Piotr and Kellogg’s dropping Michael […]

Pingback by I dare you to dump Michael Phelps « Boguskyrection

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