Bummer, Kellogg Drops Phelps
The current president
of the United States has admitted to smoking marijuana during his youth.
His predecessor quite likely did also, although he preferred not to go
into details about his partying ways prior to his fortieth birthday. Bill
Clinton chose not to inhale. ;o) All three
men engaged in an illegal act and Americans still voted to put them in charge
of leading the nation.
So, what are consumers
likely to think about buying a cereal when they learn that the Olympic
hero depicted on the box was photographed getting high? Will they turn
away from end-cap displays of Corn Flakes on sale because Michael Phelps
did what so many of them or someone they know did during those unthinking
years of their youth?
For Kellogg, it doesn’t
appear as though it was really a matter of whether Americans would forgive
Mr. Phelps his transgression. The consumer packaged goods giant decided
not to extend its deal with the celebrity endorser after determining his
behavior was "not consistent with the image of Kellogg." Mr.
Phelps’ contract with Kellogg expires at the end of this month.
Last September, Kellogg
announced Mr. Phelps’ image would appear on special edition packaging of Frosted
Flakes cereal, Corn Flakes cereal, Club Crackers and Kellogg’s Rice Krispies
Treats Marshmallow Squares.
the time, Mr. Phelps said, "I appreciate all that Kellogg has done
to help me promote swimming and all their support that will allow me to
teach others, especially kids, about the importance of an active lifestyle."
Brad Davidson, president,
Kellogg North America, remarked, "Michael’s commitment to encouraging
healthy lifestyles, especially among children, is in line with our many
programs that educate consumers and promote good nutrition."
Has Kellogg made the right decision in choosing to end its endorsement
deal with Michael Phelps? What would have happened to its cereal sales
if it decided to stick by Mr. Phelps as other brands have done (so far)?