Car company Suzuki earlier this week announced that it had axed its advertising deal with Ant McPartlin and Declan Donnelly, two days after Mr McPartlin was charged with drink-driving.
The firm said it would continue to sponsor the last two episodes of the presenting duo’s series of Saturday Night Takeaway, but the pair will not appear in any more commercials.
Celebrity bad behaviour has led to brands dumping their advertising stars in the past. Brazilian footballer Ronaldinho was axed from his Coca-Cola sponsorship deal after appearing with a can of Pepsi during a press conference, while Kate Moss was dropped by fashion giants Chanel and Burberry after the media reported that she had been caught taking drugs.
Below, we look at six other big advertising partnerships that collapsed following celebrity controversies.
OJ Simpson and Hertz
“The Juice” first appeared in rental firm Hertz’s advertising campaign in 1975, featuring in a TV commercial that represented a watershed moment for advertising, as the star was a black man. The partnership earned the footballer $600,000 a year, according to marketing magazine Ad Age.
Simpson continued to star in the firm’s adverts throughout the Seventies and Eighties, until it slammed the brakes on the two-decade collaboration following his arrest for the murders of his ex-wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her friend Ron Goldman.
Michael Phelps and Kellogg’s
Cereal maker Kellogg’s signed swimmer Michael Phelps in 2009 as part of a major advertising deal, but after the Olympic medalist was pictured smoking what appeared to be marijuana out of a glass pipe, the company refused to renew his contract and said his “most recent behavior is not consistent with [our] image.”
Britney Spears and Pepsi
Pop sensation Britney Spears signed a two-year deal with soft drinks maker Pepsi in 2001, but soon annoyed her bosses when she was spotted on several occasions drinking Coca Cola.
Pepsi later said it would not renew the singer’s multi- million dollar contract, and later replaced her with a new spokesperson, Beyoncé.
Kerry Katona and Iceland
Former Atomic Kitten singer Kerry Katona was dropped as the face of supermarket chain Iceland when The News Of The World published photographs of her allegedly snorting cocaine at her home in Cheshire.
Iceland said that while the company had stood by her during earlier personal difficulties, it was now “impossible” for Katona to continue in its advertising campaigns, which she had fronted for four years.
Tiger Woods and Gillette
In 2010, Tiger Woods was dropped by consumer goods giant Proctor & Gamble, which used the golfer to promote its Gillette razors and shaving products in a multi-million dollar advertising deal, following revelations of his extramarital affairs a year earlier.
Woods was also dropped by luxury watch maker Tag Heuer, while other major sponsors, including Nike and EA Sports, stood by the sportsman.
Kobe Bryant and McDonald’s
In 2004, McDonald’s cut all ties with American basketball player Kobe Bryant after he was accused of sexual assault.
Although the charges were later dropped, the scandal was big enough to end his relationship with the fast food chain after three years as its spokesman.
Andy Brian of the law firm Gordons, who has negotiated celebrity endorsements for brands, said: “Any celebrity must be aware that large corporates will not tolerate conduct which might damage their brand.
“Savvy sponsors will always look to include contract provisions which entitle them to end the arrangement – and potentially recover damages – if the celebrity breaches carefully defined conduct provisions.
“We have seen this many times before, and it would seem that this is the case with Suzuki. It could prove to be very costly for Ant – and by extension Dec – if other brands follow suit.