As an advertising student here at Temple University, the concept of celebrity endorsements its often taught in the 1000 level classes. We learn that brands create a voice and often times will use an iconic celebrity to support their brand and form a close knit bond with it and create loyal brand followers. Lance Armstrong did just that for Nike during their long relationship. After allegations that Lance Armstrong had participated in doping he was striped from his Tour de France titles banning him for life and Nike gave him the boot as well.
Nike along with the other brands including Giro, Oakley, Trek Bicycles, Anheuser-Busch, 24 Hour Fitness, and Honey Stinger all parted ways with Armstrong in the last week. In an Ad Age article they conducted a poll of their readers in which 68% said, “the Lance Armstrong name is damaged beyond repair for brands.”
After reading several article what I found most intriguing about this situation was that a big name like Nike had significant credibility over who believed in the allegations and who did not. In an article by USA Today Christine Brennan wrote “Nike knows Lance Armstrong did it.” She explained that when Nike takes the initiative to drop an athlete (especially one with such an outstanding career such as Armstrong) you know that the athlete has done something very very wrong especially after they continue to support and defend other athletes who encountered troublesome situations for example, Tiger Woods.
It’s no surprise to advertisers who choose to take on a relationship with a well known name that the journey can have many variables but this one between Armstrong and Nike came as a shock to us all.