brands under fire
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 17, 2012 10:29 AM
A week after the United States Anti-Doping Agency let loose a thousand pages of painful details about how Lance Armstrong and pretty much every other top American bicycle pro of the last decade doped, Nike has finally released its own news on the matter.
Following a protest at its Beaverton, Ore., HQ yesterday, Nike this morning confirmed it's dropping the athlete with two terse paragraphs, serving up a serious financial blow to Armstrong even though still continuing to support the Livestrong philanthropic brand he founded. The sports giant just released a limited-edition collection to celebrate the 15th anniversary of Livestrong, which promotes cancer awareness and healthy living, as part of a licensing deal that will continue.
Just as Joe Paterno's name was scrubbed from the Nike campus, Armstrong will also see his name removed from the fitness center on the Nike campus in Oregon, as CNN is reporting that Nike will remove his name from the building. In tandem with Nike's news, the disgraced cyclist also announced this morning that he was stepping down from his role as chairman of Livestrong.
The news prompted a mass exodus from Team Armstrong. On the heels of Nike's announcement, sponsor Anheuser-Busch announced it's dropping the cyclist when his deal as a Michelob Ultra brand ambassador ends on Dec. 31st. The Giro brand, which produced a custom $15,000 bike helmet for Armstong's 2010 Tour de France race and a branded line of helmets, also quit Team Armstrong, along with the Honey Stinger brand and, as the Wall Street Journal reports, RadioShack .
In all, Bloomberg estimates that Armstrong stands to lose $30 million as his sponsors flee.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on October 16, 2012 05:31 PM
Pepsi announced on Twitter and Facebook that it is returning to Super Bowl advertising with a big pop.
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 15, 2012 02:13 PM
When there's already a Lego parody of your extreme marketing stunt, it's safe to say that pretty much the entire planet now knows the name Felix Baumgartner, thanks to the 43-year-old Austrian skydiver's record-breaking supersonic freefall, 24 miles out of the sky, straight down to New Mexico. He made breaking the sound barrier look so easy that he landed on his feet, and you nearly expected him to land right into a moving convertible (or one of those Red Bull Mini Coopers), James Bond style.
His main benefactor since 1988, Red Bull, deserves to milk the historic feat for all its worth for some time. After all, the whole thing came about from Red Bull Stratos, a challenge put forth by the brand back in 2005 that nobody could beat the standing world record. Well, Baumgartner did — so what does Red Bull do now? And how much does the brand stand to reap on what one observer calls "the greatest marketing stunt of all time" after financing the research, training, team, equipment and PR?Continue reading...
brands under fire
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 15, 2012 09:32 AM
It's been a tough ride for the United States Postal Service. Never mind the rain, snow, sleet, or hail working conditions — as the Wall Street Journal reports it's under tremendous pressure to turn around its financials and create a new business model:
Its use plummeted amid the rise of e-mail. In recent months, it has defaulted on two payments to the U.S. Treasury for a total of $11.1 billion for future retiree health benefits. USPS has been seeking legislation to cut costs by eliminating Saturday mail delivery and reducing its annual health-benefits payments. And now there’s this.
"This" refers to the USPS name being dragged through the mud, along with what's left of Lance Armstrong's sports legacy, during last week's anti-doping report in which the cyclist's former allies in cycling. For a time, however, back in the very late '90s and early 2000s, USPS workers were associated with a winner, when the USPS-sponsored cycling team, with Armstrong at the helm, brought home its first Tour de France victory in 1999 and just kept on winning for seven straight years. Now the Postal Service is hoping to get back on a winning streak itself.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on October 14, 2012 05:17 PM
As the Red Bull press release states, "Mission Accomplished."
About 7.3 milion people were watching Sunday as Austrian skydiver Felix Baumgartner reattempted and nailed the Red Bull Stratos extreme skyjump, freefalling more than 128,000 feet to Earth at 1,342.8 kilometers per hour. He broke the sound barrier but no bones, and garnered congratulatory tweets from NASA and fellow daredevil Richard Branson, and an amusing tribute from Nestle's KitKat. (Update: YouTube reported more than 8 million concurrent livestreams, smashing all previous records, resulting in about 12.6 million viewers including Discovery Channel.)
Red Bull summed up its record-breaking, and latest, extreme sports stunt:Continue reading...
Posted by Mark J. Miller on October 12, 2012 11:34 AM
Racing, sports and Lance Armstrong fans are grappling with the man, the myth and the legend this week, as Armstrong remains, it seems, unperturbed in the aftermath of what appears to be damning evidence that he took performance-enhancing drugs throughout his storied career.
The U.S. Anti-Doping Agency's report accused the U.S. Postal Service team under Armstrong of widespread doping and a cover-up that enabled Armstrong's seven straight Tour de France titles and involved a cover-up so officials never caught Armstrong via a drug test.
While many were saddened and disappointed, other fans and observers didn't care if he took performance-enhancing drugs with his teammates (who he allegedly "bullied") or on his own. For all we know, he may have taken them on a boat and on a train, with a goat and in the rain. But Armstrong himself appears "unfazed," as Reuters puts it, by Wednesday's report and the mounting accusations by others in the racing world.
Armstrong's personal response to the blow-up: he tweeted a link on Wednesday for a press release noting the 15th anniversary of the Livestrong foundation, commenting: "What am I doing tonight? Hanging with my family, unaffected, and thinking about this. http://bit.ly/Po6mXT #onward." He later tweeted a telling YouTube link, for the late singer Elliott Smith's song, "Everything's coming up roses."Continue reading...
Posted by Abe Sauer on October 11, 2012 10:14 AM
In China, it's been a late week whirlwind of pro basketball moves, both on and off the court. Just as news hit that NBA star Tracy McGrady had signed to play for a Chinese team — Yes, in China! — Dwayne Wade officially confirmed the rumors that he had switched sneaker affiliation from Nike to China's Li-Ning brand.
Timed to coincide with the much anticipated two games Wade's team, the Miami Heat, will play against the Los Angeles Clippers in Beijing and Shanghai this week, the Li-Ning announcement was long in the making. In fact, maybe a year in the making. Now, will Wade lead Li-Ning back to glory, and will it drag the reputations of China's brands with it?Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on October 10, 2012 03:17 PM
What is it about the living legends of sports? These larger-than-life heroes -- people like Barry Bonds, Tiger Woods, and Lance Armstrong — should be symbols of lasting integrity, yet they often seem to self-destruct, shocking their fans and shaming their sport.
Still, these personalities' brands somehow weather the storm and they move on. Woods, publicly debased for his marital infidelities in late 2009, proved the point when he finally won a tournament late last year, the first since his 2009 Australian Masters victory. The situation with Lance Armstrong, however, plays by a different set of rules. The world's greatest cyclist was disgraced by doping charges that resulted in his being stripped of his seven Tour de France titles and banned for life from cycling. In August, Armstrong decided not to fight the charges, a move that many interpreted as admitting guilt without saying it.
Now, the boom is officially being lowered on Armstrong by the United States Anti-Doping Agency (USADA). The organization announced on October 10 that it is releasing its "Reasoned Decision" in the Lance Armstrong case (click here for a PDF). The USADA called it "the most sophisticated, professionalized and successful doping program that sport has ever seen."Continue reading...