Armstrong’s Brand at the Finish Line

 Armstrongs Brand at the Finish Line

The PR Verdict: “F” (Full Fiasco) for Lance Armstrong

So, Lance Armstrong doesn’t have nine lives after all. The US Anti-Doping Agency report released last week implicates Armstrong yet again in using banned substances. Previously, he’s denied everything; recently, he gave up all seven of his Tour de France medals, and yesterday, Armstrong announced that he would stand down as Chairman of his Livestrong cancer charity. Yet the rumbles continue.

With a net worth estimated at $125 million, Armstrong is one of the world’s best-paid athletes, pulling in over $15 million in endorsements a year. Despite years of allegations, his sponsors stuck with him. His agent recently told the media that Armstong’s primary sponsors have been “incredibly supportive,” with Nike confirming its endorsement, given that Armstrong had been “unwavering” regarding his innocence.

That all changed yesterday. Less than a week after pledging support, Nike has had a volte face. “Due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade, it is with great sadness that we have terminated our contract with him,” said a spokesperson. Anheuser-Busch, another sponsor, immediately fell into line, as have others, including RadioShack, Trek bicycles, and Oakley sunglasses. Nothing can change the direction in which this train is headed.

The PR Verdict: “F” (Full Fiasco) for Lance Armstrong; with each sponsor that  falls away, the USADA report gains in credibility. Is there a Plan B?

The PR Takeaway: When one domino falls, they ALL do. Having to hand back his awards and stand down from his charity as Chairman, Armstrong is hoping to avoid the complete collapse of the Armstrong brand. Now that his sponsorship deals are null and void, he may want to think about a radical rethink and complete change of his legal strategy and start afresh from there. Next step: start studying how fallen heroes rehabilitate their reputations. Livestrong may hold the key to his ultimate PR salvation. What Lance Armstrong now needs most urgently is time out of the public spotlight to regroup and think what a new legal and PR strategy might bring him.

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Is there any way Lance Armstrong can save his reputation? Give us your PR Verdict!

The PRV Report Card: This Week’s Winners & Losers

bidenryan2 150x150 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersPR WINNER OF THE WEEK: “A” (PR Perfect) to Joe Biden. Now this was a debate!  If Obama had previously brought a knife to a gun fight, Biden brought a cannon. Throughout the debate he aggressively debated Ryan, who seemed at times unable to keep up with Biden’s derisive comments. Biden’s ongoing smirks at what Ryan was saying was a PR object lesson in undermining an opponent.  A fine line to be sure  and presumably not everyone saw it this way, but frankly whatever your political color, this debate was very entertaining.  The Twitter-verse was on fire with Biden’s opening shot “That’s a lot of malarkey!” and later putdown”Oh, now you’re Jack Kennedy?” Brutal.

 

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersPR LOSER OF THE WEEK: “F” (Full Fiasco) to Lindsay Lohan. The girl can’t help it; she’s in the news constantly, but rarely for what she first became famous for – acting. This week, Lohan allegedly placed an emergency call about her mother’s erratic behavior to…her father? As a scandal-headline grabber himself, Michael Lohan is hardly the most reliable source of assistance. Lohan needs to hire the celebrity version of Harvey Keitel’s Pulp Fiction clean-up character.

 

 The PRV Report Card: This Weeks Winners & LosersTHE “FLOGGING A DEAD HORSE” PR AWARD TO: The US Anti-Doping Agency, which revealed that nearly all of Lance Armstrong’s former teammates have signed affidavits saying that Armstrong won his seven Tours de France by doping. They say he doped, they doped – even Armstrong’s former wife took performance-enhancing drugs. But Armstrong relinquished rights to his Tour titles months ago. Okay, he probably did take the drugs; does anyone still care, other than the USADA, which is determined to say “told you so”? Again and again.