Shaken & Stirred - Influential Brand Profiling and Positioning

Should Livestrong Foundation ditch Lance Armstrong?

Just a quarter believe the current course of action is best

The cancer support charity founded by Lance Armstrong should sever all ties with the former cyclist according to six in ten marketing professionals.

The most popular course of action for the charity is to retain its distinctive yellow branding and name, but sever all ties with its founder. Almost 4 in 10 marketers agreed with this in a poll conducted by specialist marketing recruiter EMR.* However, 25% of marketers believe the charity’s association with the alleged drug cheat is so damaging that the only option is a complete rebrand.

What is the best course of action for the Livestrong Foundation brand?


Simon Bassett, Managing Director of EMR said,

The Livestrong Foundation is one of the most recognisable charities in the world – its yellow bands are a stroke of genius. Thanks to the strength of its brand, many marketers believe it can ride out the storm, albeit without its founder.

“For many marketers though, even the association with Armstrong – the name “Livestrong” and the colour yellow, which he is alleged to never have worn legitimately, never having led the Tour de France ‘clean’ – are simply too damaging for the brand to survive. In their opinion, only a complete rebrand will allow it to continue to attract donations from a sceptical public.”

Taking the complete opposite tack 14% of marketing professionals believe that Armstrong should be restored to his former position as Chairman as he is still a useful marketing figure.

Less than a quarter (24%) believe the actual course of action taken by Livestrong – keeping the current branding and retaining Armstrong on the board in a background role – is the right course.

Simon Bassett comments,

“The saying, “all publicity is good publicity” is perhaps foremost in these marketers’ minds. Donations to Livestrong Foundation have increased by 8% in October compared with the same period last year, despite, or perhaps because of, the current scandal. Armstrong is still one of the most recognisable sportsmen on the planet, who has beaten cancer and raised millions of dollars to help others. He still has many supporters who would argue he won the biggest races at a time when the vast majority of rival cyclists were also using performance enhancing drugs, and whether or not the allegations are true, he is now a spearhead in the fight against cancer. For this reason, a large number of marketers think retaining Armstrong will continue to give Livestrong the high profile it needs.”



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