Unfortunately for Nike, Lance Armstrong’s semi-confessional interview with Oprah’s isn’t the only Armstrong TV content attracting huge numbers of viewers.
Armstrong’s anti-doping Nike commercial ‘What Am I On?’ was only loaded on to YouTube in December 2005, but it has now racked up an impressive 2,466,738 YouTube views and boasts more than 3,000 likes (many of which have been in the last two months).
This particular Nike TV spot, featuring Lance Armstrong using his sportswear brand endorser role to answer his critics on allegations regarding him doping, was launched as a US Television commercial back in 2001.
This is perhaps the most prominent of a plethora of Armstrong-fronted ads, some from Nike and some from his various other sponsors and brand partners (such as RadioShack to US Postal), that are now being re-watched by consumers across the world.
The public have dug them up and brought them back to life for review, for fun and to reflect upon the disgraced cyclist’s duplicitous brand-backed messages.
Many of these ads now turn out to seem either as evil lies, preposterous assertions or too have hidden alternative meanings.
What is clear is that they are being revisited by consumers in their millions.
Another Nike example is its Armstrong print ad from 2000, created by ad agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners, with copy that reads:
‘According to the most recent statistics on cancer survival rates, Lance Armstrong is neither alive, nor has he won the Tour de France’.
On top of these consumers are creating their own imitation Nike Armstrong ads. Often tweaking existing creative by changing the words (such ass the increasingly widespread blaack and white ‘Just Inject It’) or inserting additional images, so that these consumer-created fakes noiw live alongside the original genuinely Armstrong executions.
The potential damage to the brand could go on forever.
There are several lessons for marketers investing huge sums in star athlete endorsers and big name brand ambassadors.
Other than the obvious issues about an almost total inability to have any control over the ambassador’s actions, despite any number of contractual behavioural clauses and the like, it is also vital to understand that in the world of the web almost all adverts, creative executions, endorser-related copy and content lasts forever.
Consumers (as well as the media) can revive it, re-post it and revisit it as if that campaign were running live.
This inevitably further amplifies any potential damage to the brand.
What Am I On Nike TVC YouTube