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SBD/February 19, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship
Nike, Oakley Among Sponsors Now Distancing Themselves From Oscar Pistorius
Published February 19, 2013
TOUGH TO SPIN THIS: The GLOBE & MAIL's Bruce Dowbiggin writes, "Some will say Pistorius, the Paralympic legend, deserves due process." But this is "marketing, the realm where perception is reality." Dowbiggin: "This isn't a Tiger Woods sexual misconduct. Or Manti Te'o's imaginary girlfriend. This is a brutal domestic murder. You don't spin O.J. Simpson." By "procrastinating on Pistorius, the corporate types are doubling down on their initial bad investment, tying their brand to a horrific domestic incident" (GLOBE & MAIL, 2/19).
BACKLASH FOR NIKE? While Nike has deals with Woods and Eagles QB Michael Vick despite their scandals, PR Consulting Group President & CEO Jim Haggerty said Pistorius' case is "more serious because it involves homicide." Haggerty said Nike should, "at the very least, suspend their relationship until an absolute determination of whether he's guilty is determined." CNN's Ali Velshi asked, "When something like this happens, do you think there's anybody not buying Nike product because of it?" CNN's Christine Romans said, "I really don't. In the case of a company that's tied to an athlete they try to step back very quietly when something like this happens." Romans noted Pistorius was "very well-known in South Africa, not necessarily globally." Nike "has a lot of people they sponsor. I think this quietly goes away and I don't think those sponsorships come back for him" whatever the outcome of his case ("Your Money," CNN, 2/16). SportsCorp President Marc Ganis said that Nike will "have a harder time avoiding societal backlash stemming from a controversial Pistorius ad that proclaims, 'I am the bullet in the chamber.'" He said, "It's going to be used to demonstrate that Nike is tone-deaf. The ad that likely very few people paid attention to before is going to get worldwide attention, and it's an ad that never should have been made in the first place" (BOSTON HERALD, 2/16).