3Q:s What the Lochte saga can teach us about branding


Associate Professor and marketing group coordinator Bruce Clark weighed in on the Ryan Lochte Rio de Janeiro Olympics scandal.

The world of endorsements and celebrity sponsorships is often changed by the celebrities who hold them, especially if they do something wrong in the public eye. Olympic athlete Ryan Lochte made global headlines after his behavior at the Rio de Janeiro games came to light, losing coveted sponsorships as a result.

Bruce Clark, D’Amore-McKim School of Business associate professor and marketing group coordinator, spoke about the changing nature of endorsements and their impact on brand representation.

Social media has changed the way brands interact with their customers, enabling real-time conversations to occur, as well as an overall exposure increase, for both bad and good press.

Although Ryan Lochte lost some of his endorsements, he did recently make a deal with Pine Bros. Softish Throat Drops, in what may be considered a surprising move by some. Many things can impact the integrity of a celebrity sponsorship including timing, the severity of what occurred and what customers or the general public may think.

“A big challenge is that all of this is happening at light speed. Corporate sponsors and spokespeople need to figure out how to jump quickly on good items and deal quickly with bad items,” said Clark.

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