The controversy over domestic violence in the National Football League is rubbing off on sponsors.
Earlier this month, a protester used Photoshop to add a black eye to a model in an ad for Cover Girl's "official team makeup looks," the beauty brand's partnership with the NFL. Criticism of the NFL has been mounting after a shocking video emerged of Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice knocking his then-fiancée unconscious. And Minnesota Vikings player Adrian Peterson has been charged with child abuse.
This week, Reuters commissioned an Ipsos poll in the U.S. that showed a majority of those surveyed believe brands should cut ties with the NFL because of how the league has handled cases of abuse. The poll, which surveyed more than 1,200 people, showed that nearly one-third said brands should end their sponsorships permanently, and nearly a quarter said they should do so for this season. That is true even while 80 per cent said they would still watch the games – a dedicated live viewing audience that makes the NFL so valuable to advertisers in the first place.
Some sponsors have publicly criticized the league over the issue, including CoverGirl, Budweiser and PepsiCo.
Diet Coke is getting into the fashion business.
Soft drink giant Coca-Cola Co. has been struggling for some time with the heightened awareness of the negative health effects of soda. In a new marketing partnership, it is hoping to create more positive associations.
The beverage brand has teamed up with online retailer Gilt.com on a collection of clothing "inspired by the brand palette and light, crisp refreshing taste of Diet Coke," according to a statement. The collection went on sale on the website this week, and a pop-up shop showcasing the cola-inspired clothes has appeared in downtown Toronto. A new collection will appear every week for five weeks.
The clothes feature colours associated with the brand, such as red, black, and white, as well as metallics.
The company is attempting to position Coke as an accompaniment for small breaks during the day, such as shopping or checking social media, according to its marketing department.
Apple can't get a break
Social media can give a PR crisis a longer life than ever before. But in that instant-comment culture, it is not just consumers calling out marketers for their gaffes. Other brands are also getting in the action.
And what better target than that peddler of self-described "magical" products, Apple Inc.? This week, widespread reports said that the new iPhone 6 Plus could bend in people's pockets, and an online video that now has more than 24-million views showed that under pressure, it could be dented.
In addition to the rest of the hype around "bendgate," other advertisers took to Twitter to get in on the fun at Apple's expense.
Samsung Electronics Co. Ltd. tweeted a photo of its Galaxy Note phone with the caption "Curved. Not bent." Samsung also created a new ad showing an iPhone bent to look as though it is kneeling in supplication before a Samsung product, with the message, "Bend to those who are worthy."
Nestlé SA's Kit Kat chocolate bar brand – which struck up a marketing partnership with Google Inc. in 2013, when the new operating system for Android devices was named Kit Kat – tweeted a photo of its candy bar with the message, "We don't bend, we #break."
The brand of pants favoured by dads, Dockers joked that it had developed smart khakis, with a protective pocket to "avoid #bendgate."
Other brands such as Heineken NV and LG Corp. also joined in the mockery.
Apple tried to control the crisis, claiming that the bending is very rare and that the company has only received nine complaints so far. But the joke has taken on a life of its own.