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Jul 06

"Bad Boys" Gain Public Endorsements

Posted by: Steve Marr

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The arrest of Kobe Bryant for sexual assault underscores the reality that character should count in the marketplace. Though the courts are responsible to determine the truth of the allegations, Bryant has already admitted to adultery.


While he tosses off adultery as a trivial offense, the reality is that adultery breaks his marriage commitment and is a direct reflection of his character. Bryant is just most the recent example of why businesses must do their best due diligence when selecting star athletes to promote their products.

Many people were aware of the reputation that OJ Simpson had for domestic violence long before his trial on murder charges. However,companies chose to look the other way, focusing only, as is common practice, on what a star name can bring to the table to increase sales.

Earlier this year, rapper Eminem, known for his obscene lyrics, was signed to a multi million-dollar deal with Pepsi. A public outcry, led by Bill O'Riley, created a firestorm of protest and Pepsi canceled the advertising campaign.

Too often, consumers fail to show outrage and contact companies over their poor selection of characterless public figures. Even less often are these "Bad Boys" pulled from the endorsement spotlight. 

Firms like Coke, Nike, and McDonalds need to adopt a policy of caring about the personal character of those selected to endorse products, and we consumers need to hold them accountable.

Also, wise companies will include cancellation clauses for demonstrate dimmoral behavior. If athletes and other celebrities know millions in endorsements can be lost, their bad behavior may start changing!

Years ago, Walt Disney knew character mattered and would only sign stars who demonstrated personal behavior in keeping with the family image of Disney. We as consumers have the power to reverse the trend if we address companies that employ spokespeople we deem repugnant.

Yes, even if Bryant is guilty of "only" adultery and continues to represent Nike, Sprite,and McDonalds, is that the image you want to support as a consumer?

Steve Marr, Your Christian Business Coach

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