Johnson Morgan, Melissa and Summers, Jane and Sassenberg, Anne-Marie (2008) The impact of negative publicity on: an individual sporting celebrity's brand DNA; the brand DNA of their associated team and/or sport; and attitudes of their sponsors and partners. In: 6th Annual Sport Marketing Association Conference: Bridging the Gap: Bringing the World Down Under 6th Annual Sport Marketing Association Conference (SMA 2008), 16-19 July 2008, Gold Coast, Australia.
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The Australian sports industry is a multi-billion dollar industry. Sport celebrities have become brand identities and iconic marketing ‘products’ in their own right (Till 2001; Pornpitakpan 2003; Hughes & Shank 2005; Till & Shimp 1998; Charbonneau & Garland 2005). This means that the attitudes, beliefs and behaviours of sports celebrities represent the core aspects of their brand DNA. Thus is it likely that both positive and negative incidents will have an impact on the ‘marketability’ of the celebrity and his or her associated team, club or sport in general. The celebrity and/or their management in the Australian sports industry handle negative publicity with varying degrees of professionalism. Crisis management has received increasing attention in the sporting world, which may be correlated to the increasing worth of the industry and individual sports stars (Hughes & Shank 2005; Drew 2005). A brand’s association with an individual sport star carries an element of risk of the unexpected crisis (Drew 2005). In order to minimize the risk it is vital to conduct proper and thorough research into the impact of the unexpected crisis and the management of the crisis (Duncan 2005; Hale, Hale & Dulek 2006; Smith 2005; Strenski 1998). The purpose of this paper is to propose a model that will allow empirical testing of the relationship between negative publicity associated with a sport celebrity and consumer’s perceptions of how that impacts upon celebrity’s, sponsor’s and team’s brand DNA. In particular the proposed model will compare an a priori measure of consumer’s perceptions of the sport celebrity’s, the sponsor’s and the team’s brand DNA with a post scandal measure to determine the relationship and impact of both sport and non-sport related scandals on brand DNA.
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