Kendall Jenner and PepsiAs one of the members of the all too famous Kardashian/Jenner clan, which shot to fame after a reality TV chronicled their glamorous lifestyles, Kendall Jenner has a popular culture and social media following Pepsi saw as too good to not take advantage of. However, in an advert that first aired in April 2017, the US television personality and famous drinks brand were roundly lambasted for producing an advert that appeared to be insensitive towards the Black Lives Matter movement and imply a simple can of Pepsi could calm the tension that builds during march demonstrations. Employing a brand ambassador like Kendall Jenner made Pepsi an easy target for complaints, perhaps more so than if the role in the advert had been played by an unknown. Jenner was criticised on the very platforms that had catapulted her to fame, social media, and the advert was pulled before more damage was done. A comment from Pepsi read: “Clearly, we missed the mark, and we apologise. We did not intend to make light of any serious issue.”
Gary Lineker and WalkersIt’s had to imagine life before former footballer, and now famous presenter, Gary Lineker became the face of Walkers. Lineker was ideally placed, as far as brand ambassadors go, to promote Walkers having been born and brought up in Leicester – the very city that serves as headquarters for the confectionary brand. Numerous TV spots featuring Lineker had been produced over the years, but it was when a new social media campaign was unleashed that problems started. After Walkers encouraged Twitter users to send in selfies, which would then be held up by Lineker in a short video, a large number used the obvious lack of scrutiny the images were going through to place some rather unfortunate faces next to the ex-footballer. Over the series of one morning, the likes of murderous pair Fred West and Harold Shipman were “held up” by Lineker on Twitter – alongside others including Jimmy Saville, Rolf Harris and Adam Johnson. Walkers quickly pulled the campaign and apologised, saying: “We recognise people were offended by irresponsible and offensive posts by individuals, and we apologise.”
Nicole Kidman and Etihad AirwaysThis was one example of where the blow back was directed more towards the brand ambassador than the actual business. Problems began after many pointed out that Kidman’s role as a United Nations women’s goodwill ambassador was at odds with endorsing flights for a company that had reportedly mistreated female employees. The Association of Professional Flight Attendants (Apfa) led the change and suggested Kidman distanced herself from a company which apparently “may fire women if they become pregnant” and forces flight attendants to live in “confinement” in secure compounds. However, unlike previous examples we’ve cited, Kidman did not seem to mind the accusations, and was still endorsing Etihad Airways services a year later she became the first Hollywood actress to star in a fully immersive virtual reality film for the brand.
Tiger Woods and lots of brandsPerhaps one of the most well-known examples of a sports star going into meltdown, and having to deal with the financial fall out of that, took place in 2009. At the peak of Tiger Woods’ power, when he was winning multiple golfing majors and capitalising on all the economic upside that comes with that success, his personal life employed. When stories surrounding extramarital affairs began circulating, the issue was compounded by a late-night issue at Woods’ Florida home when he drove into a fire hydrant, tree and hedges on his road. As the situation escalated, and numerous women made public the reported affairs he’d had with them, the businesses Woods had been a well-paid brand ambassador for began dropping like flies. To start with, Accenture, AT&T, Gatorade and General Motors cut ties. Soon after, TAG Heuer decided to end its relationship with Woods. Over the course of the next four years, it was predicted by Forbes that Woods lost a total of $50m in endorsements.
Share this story