How Bad PR For A Celebrity Sells Product: Ryan Lochte And PowerBar Team Up


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How The Nutrition Bar Plays On Comedy To Redeem The Olympic Swimmer

Ryan Lochte was featured in every major headline following last years Olympic games - and it wasn't because of his Olympic triumphs. The athlete who fell from grace after fabricating a robbery to cover up his own bad behavior is given a new chance at redemption in his new celebrity endorsement for PowerBar.

Many brands only look for 'positive' celebrity endorsers.  And other brands have found major success in capitalizing on a celebrity's bad media attention to tout their product.  Think Steve Harvey an T-Mobile this year after his Miss Universe blunder.  In this blog, Hollywood Branded looks at the how the new strategic partnership between PowerBar and Ryan Lochte plays on humor to make a successful campaign.

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Why This Partnership Works So Well

After his fall from grace, Ryan Lochte lost almost all of his most lucrative sponsorships including Speedo and Polo Ralph Lauren, totaling about $1 million in lost yearly revenue. But his name remained in the news, and PowerBar is looking to capitalize on that notoriety.

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Instead of brushing past the fact that Lochte was one of the most-hated things to come out of the Rio Olympics, they embrace it, even addressing it in their new spot. And it has caught a lot of attention for the fitness brand.

By using the scandal to their advantage, and portraying themselves as the harbingers of redemption, the brand has made a brilliant celebrity endorsement ad.

The Ad

The ad begins with Ryan Lochte wiping off the mirror as the narrator asks, "Do you want to wipe away the past?" clearly alluding to the athlete's troubled past. "Ryan Lochte does," he responds. 


"Do you want to put questionable hairstyles and stuff that happened in the rear view?" the narrator continues. "You bet I do," replies Lochte, throwing his controversial white-blonde hairdo out of the sunroof.

The commercial goes on to explain that PowerBar is offering a new start and encourages its viewers to share how they'll use PowerBar for their new start. Lochte pledges to rededicate himself to watersports, to the excitement of the narrator.

The spot is guaranteed to make anyone who followed the Olympic drama to chuckle. After all, everyone deserves a second chance right?

Check out the ad:

Do You Want To Get Your Brand Involved With Celebrities?

Are you interested in learning how to successfully partner celebrities to your brand - without spending a million?  Watch this short webinar to learn Hollywood insider tricks to create and kick start an entertainment marketing campaign that is the perfect extension for your social media program.

Celebrity Social Media Webinar by Hollywood Branded