March 29, 2018
It’s been a busy few weeks for sponsorship deal changes due to celebrity actions. Yesterday it was announced that LG has opted not to renew its contract with Australia cricketer David Warner, following the ball-tampering scandal in South Africa.
Cameron Bancroft and Steve Smith were also involved in the scandal and all three have been sent home, with further sanctions from their governing body believed to be imminent.
Warner has been axed as vice-captain and sent home from the tour by Cricket Australia following the incident, which has made headlines around the world.
Several of Cricket Australia's major sponsors have announced that they will await the results of a full investigation into the scandal before deciding on the future of their deals with the governing body.
Last week car manufacturer Suzuki announced that it will end its sponsorship deal with TV presenters Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly two days after McPartlin was charged with drink-driving.
The Geordie duo is currently part way through the latest series of Ant and Dec’s Saturday Night Takeaway and last Saturday’s show was cancelled due to the incident. The final two episodes of the programme, which will air on 31st March and 7th April, will be presented solo by Donnelly, whilst McPartlin takes time off from work commitments to seek further treatment after his recent stint in rehab.
The lucrative deal between the duo and Suzuki was signed in December 2015 and was reportedly worth £20 million. At the time this was one of the biggest deals in UK TV outside sport.
Suzuki made the decision to not air adverts featuring the presenters and ultimately decided to end the endorsement deal with the famous duo. In the adverts, the pair is seen driving around and giving cars away to members of the public. In a statement, Suzuki GB Plc said: "As a car brand we recognise the seriousness of McPartlin’s charge. We completely support McPartlin’s decision to seek treatment.”
Our Head of Commercial, James Turner, said: “I think it was right for Suzuki to drop Ant as you can’t have a car brand support a celebrity that has been charged with drink-driving. It will damage the brand and send out the wrong message to their customers."
After this news dropped, we decided to take a look at some other big deals that have fallen through due to the star’s behavior and asked James as well as our Partnerships Manager, Jordan Webb, for their views.
The American former professional road racing cyclist lost a host of sponsorship deals when a report was released by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency which contained evidence that Armstrong had taken and concealed his use of banned substances. The seven-time Tour de France champion was stripped of his titles and banned from cycling for life.
In 2012, it was reported that 11 sponsors cut ties with the star by either termination their contracts or announcing that they would not renew contracts. His last remaining sponsor followed suit a few days later. It was estimated that Armstrong lost an estimated $150 million from this.
After allegations surfaced in 2010 of the English professional footballer cheating on his then-pregnant wife, Wayne Rooney was axed from Coke Zero ads however, Coca-Cola maintained its relationship with him. After a series of events, such as an on-air rant which included foul language, the brand decided to drop the star completely in 2011. It was estimated that Rooney lost around £600,000 a year from this.
Jordan said: “As a big football fan, I remember this one well. I think it’s justified as he is in the public eye and a role model to many people. A lot of kids look up to him and he’s not teaching them the right example.”
On a similar note, an affair was also a contributing factor to American professional golfer Tiger Woods losing deals with Accenture, AT&T, Gatorade, Buick in 2010. A car crash and $100 million divorce also played a part in the star losing a reported $22 million from these deals.
Jordan added: “Again, he’s setting the wrong example and this doesn’t look good on the brand. Stars have to be careful what they do on and off the pitch.”
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