Recently, I (Alexandra, here) was reading an article written by the Knowledge@Wharton from the Wharton business school at the University of Pennsylvania.  This article discussed the fate of the Lance Armstrong brand as well as his charitable organization, Livestrong founded to support cancer survivors.  The discussion was well thought out and made sense.   Here is an excerpt, to read more...

 “Livestrong was built on the cult of Armstrong’s personality,” Katherina Rosqueta, executive director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Center for High Impact Philanthropy.  “That personality has now gone from being an asset to a liability. If Livestrong can show meaningful impact for the funds it has raised, then it can probably survive this. If it can’t, it won’t”

Over time, Americus Reed, a Wharton marketing professor, predicts that Armstrong’s image as the face of the charity will fade. “People will always remember he started it, but it’s not clear to me right now that there will be a long-term negative impact on Livestrong,” he says. “As this goes on for Lance, however, with no statement and continued denial, his brand is going to continue to decay.”

What impressed me most was a comment made by a reader. Christopher Lambert:

If we say Lance is irredeemable aren't we passing the same sentence on the worst parts of our self?

One of the risks of being a celebrity is the fact that the media is just as capable making you an overnight success as it is capable of instantly destroying your reputation. It leaves little room for redemption. What the media is counting on is that their audience does not think for themselves like Christopher Lambert did.

What do you think?


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