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PostHeaderIcon Truth in Advertising

Many times companies use celebrities to get extra attention for their products or services. Even in politics and endorsement from a well known political star can mean the difference between a victory and an “also ran”. But it is important to remember that the transference of clout doesn’t just run one way. Michael Jordan found this out the hard way.

Michael Jordan has consistently been one of the most sought after and well paid celebrities for endorsements. Shoes, Gatorade, and McDonalds made Jordan not only a star on the court but also a star of the television screen. In each case, Jordans image made millions of dollars for his customers. Air Jordan graced the feet of children around the world. Gatorade “quenched the thirsts” of athletes globally. And McDonalds? McDonalds took a bite out of Jordans reputation that never quite healed.

Customers and critics of the McDonalds commercials couldn’t quite understand the connection between the super athlete and the calorie rich foods he was selling on the TV. Nobody really believed that after the big game Jordan sat down to a Big Mac with a Super Size order of fries.

As always, McDonalds survived the critics. Jordan’s reputation, however, took a severe beating. Even over a decade later Jordan’s actions off the court are getting more attention than anyting he ever did while playing the game.

So pick your branding, your advertising, and your other messages carefully. Does everything match up or is your Jordan eating a Big Mac?

For a (snarky) look at Michael Jordans history take a look at Slate’s:

Citizen Jordan

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