Tag Archives: Sacramento Kings

January 25, 2011 | cwinters | Tagged , , , , ,

Can a Brand’s Tarnished Reputation Infect Others By Association?

This weekend, in the frigid cold, my kids “had to” go to a major sporting goods chain in order to procure Power Balance bracelets. Yes, those very bracelets that originally claimed to use magnetic frequencies in your body to improve balance, but later admitted to doing pretty much nothing. These are the very same bracelets that sports heroes so famous that they require no last name – Kobe, Shaq – have been rockin’ on the court.

Normally, this would be considered a crisis of major proportions…you are admitting to scamming consumers, and you’ve co-opted iconic sports heroes whose reputation currency is counted in the millions, or billions, via product endorsements.

So what does Power Balance do? In a classic Oz-like “pay no attention to the man behind the curtain” move – they’ve inked a deal to name an arena with dollar values so low the experts are predicting it could de-value future deals, and the reputation of the Kings along the way. Clearly the combination of small media market and a pretty poor win-loss record despite a small bump in attendance didn’t help the Kings.

The question is this – have the Kings further damaged their reputation by partnering with a questionable sponsor? Or has Power Balance brilliantly deflected what could have been a business-destroying revelation that the performance bracelets are no more than a fashion statement?

And yes, I plunked down 60 bucks for a very fashionable plastic bracelet. My high school baller knows they are just a fashion statement – and bought one in her team colors. My younger one thinks it will make him run faster, shoot better and stay on his feet when he is bumped around…after all Lamar Odom says they make a difference for him. I think that is called the Placebo Effect.