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The Dingo Kids Meet O.J. Simpson

In 1981 when this ad was published, O.J. Simpson had retired from professional football and was progressing with his acting career. He would be inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 1985, and was seen by many companies as a marketable individual who they could do business with. In the case of this ad, the Acme Boot Company saw value in associating O.J. Simpson with their Dingo boots.

Simpson would later be put on trial for murder (and acquitted), one of the most publicized criminal cases in US history, and subsequently sent to prison for kidnapping and armed robbery.

This is a case in point of the risks companies take in their sponsorship decisions. Athletes who are on a winning streak and have a positive image can provide businesses with valuable brand exposure. However when things go wrong companies can lose out on a lot of money and opportunities.

When Tiger Woods’ infidelity scandal broke, Gatorade, AT&T and General Motors severed their sponsorships with him. When Maria Sharapova tested positive for meldonium in 2016, Nike and Tag Heuer cut ties with her. And while it may seem it’s often businesses who have to protect their image from sponsorships gone wrong, it also happens the other way round.

Many online personalities and influencers were sponsored by FTX, the now bankrupt cryptocurrency exchange that stole $8 billion of customer money. While FTX and its employees being held to account, so are the influencers who promoted it to their followers and subscribers.

The Dingo Kids Meet O.J. Simpson ad was published in Tales to Astonish Starring the Sub-Mariner, Issue #14, 1981.

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