Kellogg Says Phelps Won't Be A Cereal Killer, But He Still Rides The Subway
Feb. 7, 2009: Subway is still jumping into the pool with Michael Phelps, despite other marketers in the athlete's entourage having jumped out. In a statement, the sandwich chain, which signed a deal with Phelps in November, said, "Like most Americans, and like Michael Phelps himself, we were disappointed in his behavior. Also like most Americans, we accept his apology. Moving forward, he remains in our plans." Reports said that Subway would delay a planned ad campaign with the Olympic hero, who has come under fire following a photo showing him holding a bong, or would cuts it ties with him. However, the company did not confirm that move, saying their statement spoke for itself.
Meanwhile, Kellogg became the first company in Michael Phelps' arsenal of endorsers to sever ties with the swimmer as a result of the now infamous photo showing Phelps holding a bong to his mouth. Kellogg said its deal with Phelps expires at the end of this month and would not be renewed. In a statement, the company said that the photo of Phelps is "not consistent with the image of Kellogg." Phelps appeared on boxes of Frosted Flakes and Corn Flakes as companies jumped on the Phelps brandwagon after he won a record eight gold medals at the Olympics in Beijing last summer. Meanwhile, USA Swimming, the sport's national governing body, has suspended him from competition for three months and cut off financial support during that period. "We have spoken with Michael and he has expressed regret for the situation, has committed to being accountable and improving his judgment in the future. We intend to support him as he looks to move forward." The International Olympic Committee took a different tactic, offering in a statement, "Michael Phelps is a great Olympic champion. He apologized for his inappropriate behavior. We have no reason to doubt his sincerity and his commitment to continue to act as a role model." Other companies with whom Phelps has deals, including Hilton Hotels, Speedo, Omega, sports beverage PureSport and Visa, while not condoning what might have transpired, gave their public support for Phelps. In a statement, Visa said, "We have spoken with Michael and he has expressed regret for the situation, has committed to being accountable and improving his judgment in the future. We intend to support him as he looks to move forward." Subway offered a terse, "Subway is not commenting or releasing a statement right now on Michael Phelps." Deals with AT&T, PowerBar from Nestle and Rosetta Stone had already ended before the controversial photo appeared. Phelps is represented by Peter Carlisle at Octagon. Back to Home Page