Photo: AP Images
Sparks flew again in cycling great Lance Armstrong’s alleged doping saga when a Texas judge refused to “indulge” Armstrong’s ego and tossed his lawsuit.It’s a blow to Armstrong, but this saga effects more than just the legendary athlete.
Down the line, it could also be bad news for the smaller brands Armstrong has endorsed over the years that heavily rely on his seal-of-approval for business.
In addition to the household names that have partnerships with Armstrong (Nike, Michelob Ultra, et. al) the cyclist has long supported smaller brands — which in turn rely more heavily on him, and have more at stake in these doping debacles.
Armstrong has thrown his support behind FRS Energy, a small California-based company that manufactures energy drinks and chews. After his endorsement sales exploded, and the company grew fivefold. In 2010, Armstrong put his Midas touch on Honey Stinger, a maker of honey-based power food products, at the pinnacle of the energy bar craze. At the time, the company only had eight employees; today, they employ approximately 50 people and continuously have new hires, according to Honey Stinger’s marketing coordinator Colin Osborn.
Armstrong’s endorsements of these smaller brands fit nicely with his own image; as a cancer survivor and one who has “beat the odds,” helping these underdogs gain traction in competitive markets makes sense from his own PR perspective.
He once told CNBC, “I don’t care if they say in business school never [endorse] anything less than IBM. I’m at a point in my life where I don’t need anything professionally, financially or personally. I’d rather be with businesses who have products I believe in.”
The question for FRS Energy and Honey Stinger, which had no comment on the allegations, remains what to do while waiting for answers. Do they abandon the athlete who helped build their businesses? Or stand by his side as he vehemently denies any drug use?
NOW WATCH: Ideas videos
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.