First came the made up robbery story. Then came the true story, and, six days after the incident itself, the somewhat weak apology. Now that U.S. Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte has lost the respect of the people of Brazil and the world, four of his major sponsors (Speedo USA, Ralph Lauren, Syneron Candela and Airweave) announced yesterday that they were ending their partnerships with the athlete.
Weighing in on the controversy from a communications perspective, Kim West, NATIONAL Partner and Chief Client Officer in Toronto, was on the set of CTV News Channel last night and explained how seriously sponsors take their partnerships with athletes who are paid to promote their brands and reflect their values.
After presenting himself as a victim and not acknowledging the impact of his actions on the people of Rio and Brazil, can Ryan Lochte ever re-establish his credibility? “We all love a good comeback story where a person learns from their mistakes,” says Kim. I don’t know that the opportunities will be there with his sponsors because of where he is in his career, but I think there’s an opportunity for him to redeem himself, particularly with the people of Rio.”
As highlighted in our newly-released Bold Thinking Report, the Ryan Lochte story is another perfect example of how people – and sponsors – are guided by their own set of values when making decisions…