Endorsements are an easy way for a company to increase sales with the help of a famous celebrity or athlete, and the paycheck for appearing in commercials is quite a nice incentive. Landing the right person to endorse your product can be a blessing for all involved but it can also turn into a headache. We look up to famous people—we expect them to make good decisions on a daily basis and they are held to a higher standard. What happens when they mess up?
Shaun White is a charming athlete, with long and pretty curly red hair, who just happens to be unbeatable on a snowboard and skateboard. One could even get away with calling him a legend (yeah, he’s that good). His winning SuperPipe run at Winter X Aspen 2012 landed him the SuperPipe five-peat in Winter X Games history. White has 17 Winter X Games gold medals overall, and several Olympic gold medals. He appeared in the movie “Friends with Benefits” as himself, but he is no stranger to television. White has many commercials as he is endorsed by Target, Burton, Stride Gum and others. He’s a real stand-up guy.
Or so many people thought until he was arrested for public intoxication and vandalism. White, in a drunken stupor, allegedly destroyed a Nashville hotel room and attacked someone who tried to stop him from fleeing the scene. What does this mean for his seemingly spotless, glittering image? It’s hard to say.
Where is the line drawn when deciding to keep endorsing someone or not? Nike still endorses Tiger Woods, who infamously cheated on his Swedish model wife with more than ten women, and the company recently signed UFC fighter Jon “Bones” Jones, who was convicted of a DUI in May. Neither of these men send a good message to children or young adults. Woods made the same mistake repeatedly, while Jones made a mistake once. Does that make one man better or worse than the other? And how many mistakes can one get away with?
White wasted no time making a public apology for his embarrassing drunken escapade in Nashville. And judging by the comments, his fans happily accepted. Does this make him more human to us non-legends, or was this scandal just not that big of a deal?
As Mike Tyson so elegantly stated in The Hangover, “we all do dumb shit when we’re f***ed up.”
White hasn’t lost his huge fan base, if anything they are among the most supportive I’ve seen. Had White not acknowledged his gaffe immediately or not at all, the situation may be different. He knows he made poor decisions and owned up to it. As long as the fans are still happy the endorsers should be, too.
As for Tiger Woods… I’m still confused as to how he got away with that one.