Science of Sponsorship Series
This series takes a look at the academic literature on sponsorship and offers a condensed summary and managerial implications.
By Hakim Azrour, M.Sc.
For the past few years, morality clauses have been cropping up in a lot of endorsement contracts, enabling companies to end their association with a celebrity and distance themselves from a negative event should it occur. That’s how endorsement contracts came to an end between McDonald’s and Kobe Bryant, Kate Moss and Chanel, and H&M and Burberry, not to mention Tiger Woods with Accenture, Gatorade and Gillette.
Because of the extravagant nature of celebrities—or maybe just because they’re human—endorsement scandals are inevitable. Unfortunately, such scandals are also totally unpredictable, and a company generally has no advance warning when its highly paid spokesperson decides to stray from the script. The one thing a company can control is its reaction when the media is in an uproar about its association with an offending celebrity.