A last ditch effort to save brand Armstrong
|August 24, 2012||Posted by Jake Wilczynski under Media, PR|
Lance Armstrong, seven-time Tour de France winner, heroic cancer survivor and staunch anti-doping advocate has finally given up his battle against the mounting drug charges and wavering public support.
While Armstrong fans remain steadfast in their support, and will point to his seven years as the most drug tested cyclist in Le Tour, critics only have to look at Armstrong’s contemporaries, the drug-addled peloton (everyone was at it!), and cite Occam’s razor as evidence of systematic doping.
Regardless of whether Lance Armstrong is innocent or guilty of using performance enhancing drugs, his brand value has undoubtedly diminished from the dizzying heights seen in the mid-noughties.
The formal process of prosecution and conviction would have been the final nail in the coffin for an already tattered brand and the Livestrong foundation that sits uncomfortably alongside.
But has he played a PR masterstroke in admission of defeat? The statement that greeted the world this morning was not one of confession, but weariness in denial. Armstrong remains resolute in his critique of the “witch-hunt” and his professions of innocence.
By pre-empting a formal charge and the release of evidence, the embers of the Armstrong brand survive and the ‘did he/didn’t he’ debate can live on in ambiguity.
And what does this mean for the already battered image of professional cycling? In an age of fallen, humiliated heroes, Armstrong remained the shining light in the face of cynics and the embodiment of sporting values overcoming adversity.
The cycling fraternity keeps its fingers tightly crossed that the recent heroics of Wiggins et al can restore a brand that is only just beginning to pick itself up from the floor.