The original expert consensus over the Michael Phelps bong picture had the Olympic champion losing endorsements, but so far sponsors are actually loving the attention.
In the now famous shot, Phelps was wearing an Omega watch. “You can’t buy this kind of product placement — believe me, we’ve tried!” a spokesman for Omega Watches told The Huffington Post, “He’s modeling one of our blinged-out products as he expertly removes the carb from the bong, which we will also be selling replicas of: The Poseidon, as we are proudly calling it, holds actual water, just like what Michael Phelps swims in!”
The same report continues by saying other Phelps sponsors see the picture as an opportunity:
Contrary to the negative backlash which advertisers used to go through to keep imaginary customers happy, Phelps’s sponsors are proactive, seizing on Phelps’ snapshot as a way to re-market a guy the country already loves, only now with 10% more bad boy included. “Girls love a bad boy!” the Power Bar communications director stated. “And everyone likes getting 10% more of something for free.”
Michael Phelps: blessed not only in the pool, and out of it as well. You wouldn’t see many other sports stars sail away from something like this.