Lance Armstrong had his Oprah moment last night. His star has fallen about as far as it could. His roster of sponsors, including Nike, Anheuser-Busch and Trek, fled in droves. Even FRS Energy ditched him.
But America is about second acts, no matter what Scott Fitzgerald said. Digiday has come up with four immediate ways for Lance to regain his footing in the marketing world that did so much to create and maintain his myth that’s now evaporated.
Nike Chalkbot Rides Again: Nike has run from Lance as far as its sneakers can go. But it’s time to make amends. The ideal would be for Nike to do a forensic accounting of all the money it made off constructing and perpetuating the Lance Myth, then donate that money over time to fighting doping in sports. That’s not going to happen, so why not take Chalkbot out of storage for one more run. Only this time it would print apologies. (Thanks to Daniel Stein for this one.)
Amgen Racing Team: It’s very ironic that a big supporter of cycling in the U.S. is Amgen, which happens to be the maker of EPO, the drug of choice for Armstrong and many other cyclists. (EPO is used by cancer patients to boost production of oxygen-carrying red blood cells.) Most sponsors are fleeing cycling’s druggie image, but this is an obvious opening for Amgen and other pharma companies to step in and show what its products can do. This is branded utility.
Just Dope App: What’s clear from the mountain of evidence against Armstrong, and the accounts of other riders, is doping isn’t easy. It takes a lot of organization. That’s where a branded app would come in. Many a failed test can be the result of simply forgetting the doping schedule your crooked doctor drew up for you. This app could change that, always with the rider to remind him when to microdose. Hook in an API with the testers’ whereabouts, and you have a powerful geolocation feature.
Armstrong Social Media Group: Say what you want about Lance, but he’s a natural social media guru. In private, he was trying to destroy people’s lives and living a complete lie, but he’s proven time and again to be a fantastic tweeter. Why not enter the agency business? Let’s face it, social media gurus aren’t that popular anyway.