SBD/February 14, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Sponsors Begin To Remove Activation Around Oscar Pistorius After Murder Charge

Pistorius' web site no longer includes Nike's "bullet in the chamber" ad
Several sponsors of South African sprinter Oscar Pistorius "began pulling their advertising today, just hours after police said he would be charged" with the murder of his girlfriend, Reeva Steenkamp, according to Starkey & O’Connor of the LONDON TIMES. A billboard poster for South African TV channel M-Net featuring Pistorius’ face was “removed as the satellite broadcaster DSTV said that it was pulling the campaign off the air.” Also, a Nike ad with the line “I am the bullet in the chamber” was “pulled from his official website." He still “appeared, however, clad in Lycra, bearing a British Telecom logo and the Nike tick.” Pistorius’ sponsors now will be “taking stock of their association to a fallen icon.” In addition to M-Net and Nike, Pistorius has deals with BT, Oakley, fashion brand Thierry Mugler and orthopaedic brand Ossur, which makes his prosthetic running blades (TIMES.co.uk, 2/14). Ossur CEO Jon Sigurdsson said, “It is completely premature to discuss or speculate on our business relationship with him.” Meanwhile, a BT spokesperson said, “We are shocked by this terrible, tragic news. We await the outcome of the South African police investigation.” A Nike spokesperson said the company was “saddened by the news, but we have no further comment to make at this stage.” Pistorius’ sponsorship deals “are thought to be worth" $2M a year (REUTERS, 2/14).
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