Public Figures and Their Affairs: It’s All About Credibility

Public figures enjoy tremendous fortune and have high visibility.   It’s in their best interest to safeguard their favorable status with the American public.  Then they are rewarded with celebrity endorsements from companies eager to form a partnership with them.  When that happens, companies hope consumers will associate the goodwill they feel for the celebrity with their product.   

Michael Jordan is a much sought after public figure and enjoys lucrative celebrity endorsement deals with Hanes, Ball Park Franks and many others.  These companies pay Jordan very well for his positive image.

Endorsements like these can also be taken away, however.  If a company no longer deems that celebrity worthy of representing its product, the celebrity loses the endorsement.  This is usually clearly spelled out in morality clauses.  There is a choice.  No one is forcing anyone to accept the contract.

Tiger Woods has been the focus of countless news stories this week as a result of an accident and belated apology for personal indiscretions.   Many women have since come forward claiming they participated in his infidelity.  Woods has asked for privacy and that has engaged a lively debate over whether public figures can have private lives.  Does it go both ways?  Can a public figure ask for privacy when it’s convenient? 

If a celebrity wants the endorsement contracts, he or she must meet expectations.  That means celebrities must not only excel in their professions, but behave without reproach in their private lives as well because everyone is watching and millions of dollars are at stake. 

America loves a comeback story.  With hard work, credibility can be rebuilt.  Just look at Kobe Bryant and Tylenol.  Both the basketball star and the product line faced credibility crises and have not only rebuilt their reputations, but have exponentially surpassed their initial level of success.