When Brand Ambassadors Go Bad (And Containing The PR Meltdown)

When Brand Ambassadors Go Bad (And Containing The PR Meltdown)

It’s B&T list of the times PR people have gone into PANIC mode after a brand ambassador has done something super illegal and tarnished the brand.

Posted by ERIN MARY Doyle

Jared Fogle (Subway)

As reported on B&T this morning, the FBI has raided the home of Jared Fogle aka ‘Subway Guy’. Subway quickly tweeted that it has suspended its relationship with Jared and Subway’s US website have deleted any images of Jared.

O.J Simpson (Hertz)

Hertz car rentals had a marketing deal with O.J. Simpson from 1975 until 1992. That partnership quickly ended when allegations of Simpson’s domestic abuse started circling.

It was pretty amazing foresight by Hertz. Two years later, O.J Simpson was charged with (and acquitted of) murdering his former wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ronald Goldman.

Michael Phelps (Kellogg)

Caught in the act ... Michael Phelps.

Back in 2009 Phelps was suspended from competition for three months by USA Swimming after being caught punching bongs. Kellogs food company quickly released a statement saying it would not be continuing Phelp’s sponsorship:

“Michael’s most recent behaviour is not consistent with the image of Kellogg. His contract expires at the end of February and we have made a decision not to extend his contract,” Kellog’s spokeswoman Susanne Norwitz said in a statement.

Chris Brown (Got Milk)


Also in 2009, Chris Brown assaulted his then girlfriend Rihanna and the folks behind the ‘Got Milk’ campaign quickly dropped its collaboration with Brown.

“The Milk Moustache campaign is taking the allegations against Chris Brown very seriously,” the Body by Milk Campaign said in a statement. “We are very proud and protective of the image of the Milk Moustache campaign and the responsible message it sends to teens.”

Radio stations across America also pulled Brown’s music from the airwaves.

Kate Moss (Chanel, H&M, Burberry)

In 2005, Kate Moss was caught snorting the white devil. She was consequently dropped by fashion houses Chanel, Burberry and H&M.

In a statement H&M spokesperson, Jennifer Uglialoro said: “If someone is going to be the face of H&M. It is important they be healthy, wholesome and sound.”

Chanel also said it would not renew its contract with Moss.

Burberry dropped Moss’s campaign with them. Moss had featured in nine Burberry campaigns since 1998. The company said in a statement: “We are saddened by her current circumstances and hope she overcomes her problems as soon as possible.”

Tiger Woods (Accenture, Gatorade, General Motors, Tag Heuer)

Back in 2009 golf’s golden boy Tiger Woods was caught being a golden cheater, with claims that Woods had an affair with twelve different women.

In the days and months following Woods’ admission of boning women who aren’t his wife, heaps of brands completely ended their sponsorship deals.

A spokeswoman for Gatorade said: “We no longer see a role for Tiger in our marketing efforts and have ended our relationship… We wish him all the best.”

If you have any other disgraced brand ambassador, tweet us @bandt and we’ll add it to list.