On August 23rd, Lance Armstrong gave up his challenge to the relentless pursuit by the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency, which promptly led the USDA to ban the retired cyclist from the sport for life and strip him of his 14 Tour de France titles.
Given his enormous impact and marketing reach, the news will surely have a lot of folks well beyond the spandex shorts set in tears. Since 1997, the cyclist has raised more than $470 million to fight cancer through his Livestrong Foundation while also being a major spokesperson for Nike. For its part, the Swoosh isn’t taking off its yellow rubber bracelet any time soon. The company released a statement saying it “plans to continue to support Lance and the Lance Armstrong Foundation.”
Head over at Advertising Age for a great rundown of Armstrong’s best ads. Is he guilty? Who knows? But despite never failing a drug test and maintaining that his decision to cease his challenge to the USADA is not an admission of guilt, this news and the USADA’s harsh sentence definitely casts Armstrong’s marketing legacy in a different light.