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SBD Global/February 20, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Thierry Mugler Follows Nike, Oakley In Withdrawing Oscar Pistorius Sponsorship

French fashion house Thierry Mugler has become the "latest high-profile sponsor to distance itself" from Paralympian Oscar Pistorius, who is fighting murder charges in South Africa, according to the PA. The company has announced the "immediate and complete withdrawal" of all products featuring Pistorius including its A*men Pure Shot fragrance, which was launched as a special edition to mark last year's London Paralympics. In addition, Thierry Mugler has removed "all point-of-sale advertising featuring Pistorius, and deleted all references to the athlete from its website" (PA, 2/19). ABC NEWS' Curry & Kanani wrote Oakley and Nike announced that they "would no longer run ads featuring" Pistorius. In a statement, Oakley Corporate Communications Manager Cheri Quigley said the company "is suspending its contract" with Pistorius, effective immediately. Nike also said it had "no plans" to use Pistorius in future ad campaigns. The companies made their announcements shortly after Pistorius' agent, Peet van Zyl, publicly said that he "expected the sponsors to stick with Pistorius through the legal process" (ABC NEWS, 2/18). Nike North America Media Relations Manager KeJuan Wilkins "declined to say whether Nike had previously had any plans for Pistorius." The AP's Joshua Freed noted Pistorius' website "still shows other Nike ads, as well as logos from Nike, Oakley and other companies" (AP, 2/18).

IPC PRESIDENT SPEAKS: In London, Gareth Davies reported Int'l Paralympic Committee President Philip Craven spoke publicly for the first time insisting that the police investigation in South Africa involving Pistorius "must be separated from the sports movement" which enjoyed unprecedented momentum in London last summer. Craven insisted that the Paralympic movement "must not be dented by the actions of a single athlete." Craven: "He was the first really big international star, but there are now so many athletes coming through. The new stars will be taking the movement forward, and there will be many more as we move forward" (TELEGRAPH, 2/19).
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