Fox Rothschild LLP

What Will Become of the Lance Armstrong Brand?

Forbes.com

January 18, 2013

The sordid tale of Lance Armstrong has unfolded in media outlets across the country. Lance has achieved name recognition and made himself and his brand a great deal of money,  however many wonder what will happen to the Livestrong brand after the athlete's fall from grace.

In addition to the his tattered moral image is the issue of “clawbacks” whereby Lance would have to repay some of the millions of dollars he earned via sponsors now that he has admitted to using performance enhancing drugs.

Jeff Kravitz, a partner in the law firm Fox Rothschild LLP, says essentially if it’s not broken, don’t fix it. “Why publicly open a wound unless the business is hurting? says Kravitz. “Let it lie, let it die.”

Kravitz, who also blogs about sports law, thinks Armstrong can recover from a branding perspective “through charity and clarity.” He also believes a mea culpa would certainly help “Weasel words do not work, and presenting himself to the public with more sincerity is necessary.”

His advice to Armstrong, which would more than likely be contrary to what many lawyers would advise is to “keep  it simple, honest and direct” adding that “the legalities will play out better if you tell the truth.”

As for brands who are considering establishing a partnership/sponsorship with a professional athlete, Kravitz suggests that it’s best for brands to “know the person you are considering working with; check around before you sign someone and remember that long term relationships can work out when you stick with people.”

While the future for Lance is hard to predict, America is a very forgiving society. As Kravitz points out, “If Michael Vick can have a second act, so can Mr. Armstrong.”

 

This article was also featured in Business Insider, Business 2 Community and Social Media Today.


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