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SBD/October 22, 2012/Marketing and Sponsorship
Nike Advertising Campaigns Focusing Less On Individual Athlete Endorsements
Published October 22, 2012
SEPARATING FROM LANCE: In a separate piece, Brettman wrote Nike’s image “may have suffered a black eye when it severed its endorsement contract” with Lance Armstrong last week, but “it's unclear how much money the fallen cycling star ever brought to the sports apparel company.” Brettman: “It's clear the dollars from cycling were never big. If they were, Nike would still be in the game.” Nike partnered with Amaury Sport Organisation from ‘96-‘11 as “an official sponsor, supplier and licensee of the Tour de France.” About a year after Armstrong's last Tour de France win in ‘05, the company “largely abandoned selling its branded bicycling apparel and shoes” (Portland OREGONIAN, 10/21).
DROP HIM LIKE IT'S HOT: In DC, Deron Snyder wrote Nike “had no choice but to drop Armstrong.” He had become “a toxic asset for premier corporate brands." Nike was “wise, though, in covering itself on both ends, asserting its continued backing of Livestrong," which has raised $500M million to help people fighting cancer (WASHINGTON TIMES, 10/21). ESPN’s John Saunders said, "Nike stood by Tiger Woods, Kobe Bryant and Ben Roethlisberger during disgraced times and will gladly take your money for sneakers or a set of golf clubs. But Nike knows when it helped wrap Armstrong’s yellow band around your wrist, it did so because of a lie. We’re thankful it helped fight cancer, but we were deceived” (“The Sports Reporters,” ESPN, 10/21). Meanwhile, Oakley today announced it has severed its longstanding sponsorship of Armstrong. The company added that it will continue to support the Livestrong Foundation, which it referred to as a "positive force" (Oakley). The move comes after the UCI, cycling's governing body, "stripped him of his Tour de France titles and banned him for life following doping allegations" (AP, 10/22).