SBD/May 26, 2011/Marketing and Sponsorship

Livestrong Looks To Sustain Brand, Mission Through Latest Armstrong Allegations

Livestrong has raised $400M for cancer since the charity's inception in '97
Recent allegations against Lance Armstong by former teammate Tyler Hamilton on CBS’ "60 Minutes" this past weekend have marketers “wondering if Livestrong, the athlete's cancer-research foundation, will be the real victim,” according to Alexandra Bruell of AD AGE. Livestrong since its inception in ’97 has raised $400M “to support those affected by cancer through equity tied to emotion, built on product development, marketing initiatives and aggressive funding.” But Bruell wondered if Livestrong can “separate its mission and activities in the fight against cancer from the controversy surrounding its founder.” Livestrong Senior Dir of Communications Katherine McLane indicated the foundation can and insisted that “the vibe at the organization is business as usual.” Still, observers are “less optimistic.” Crisis communications firm APCO Worldwide Exec VP Kent Jarrell said Livestrong "can't take Lance out of the equation." Bruell noted that “complication ... sparks the foundation's caught-in-the-middle status and presents long-term challenge to its reputation.” The foundation “will have to prepare scenarios for a series of potential legal outcomes and continue to push its cause, which, on an emotional level, trumps Mr. Armstrong's athletic achievements.” However, "longtime marketing partners such as Nike are sticking with Livestrong” so far (ADAGE.com, 5/25).
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