Give Speedo lots of credit for not just taking the right amount of time to make a decision on Ryan Lochte, but for finding a way to take a negative and perhaps create the biggest and only positive out of the situation from last week’s incident at the Rio Olympics.
Usually brands cut ties and that’s it…over and done with, end the news cycle, short and sweet. Explain the reasoning and go on. Speedo went a big step further, and possibly set a unique precedent for such breakups going forward. As part of their announcement they put forth that they are donating a $50,000 portion of Lochte’s fee to Save the Children, a global charity partner of Speedo USA’s parent company, for children in Brazil.
While some may say they are taking advantage of a negative announcement, the charity donation of money already budgeted for the future gives the brand a great philanthropic bounce, and also reminds consumers of a bigger picture mission once the games in Rio have been finished, to find ways to use the Games to benefit those left behind. It was a one off announcement but one of impact that set Speedo apart from the other brands jumping the Lochte ship, and can have an impact on the youngest of fans in an area that surely needs the help.
While often times league fines go to charity, rarely do brands who cut ties use the platform for charitable giving; maybe this will turn a tide and see other brands who try to find some ray of hope on dark days when their spokespeople stray into unforeseen issues.