Exclusive! Subway has officially de-linked Michael Phelps as they prepare to drop his recently announced sponsorship deal. Before Michael’s bong hits hit the headlines, Michael Phelps was featured on the Subway web site. However, since the swimmer’s pothead scandal, Subway has removed all links to pages featuring the Olympic swimmer (see below).
Confidentially, the Subway webteam gave us the heads up — Michael Phelps has been remmed out, de-linked, due to his recent one toke over the line. Other Subway “celebrity friends” are still listed, like Jared, Ryan Howard and Reggie Bush — but they have been told to officially de-link all references featuring Michael (click below to see larger):
In an e-mail from Subway spokeswoman Megan Driscoll, she said: “Subway is not commenting or releasing a statement right now on Michael Phelps.” However, in de-linking all references to Michael Phelps, this is Subway corporate as they prepare for dropping their sponsorship. Our insider told us Subway execs are pissed off, talking to legal, want their endorsement money returned — and to “get rid of this embarrassment.”
And, here’s the thing, Subway just signed Michael on November 21st! Here’s what they said at the time:
“SUBWAY(R) takes pride in being a healthy and active brand - one that can be a regular part of these world class athletes’ routines,” states Tony Pace, Chief Marketing Officer of the SUBWAY Franchisee Advertising Fund Trust (SFAFT), which signed the contract with Phelps. “We knew Michael Phelps was a big fan of our sandwiches and we wanted to build on that with him to illustrate that SUBWAY(R) is a brand that can play a role in helping everyone - from elite athletes to weekend joggers - perform at their peak levels and make healthier, smarter choices about food, whatever the activity.”
And being a “healthy and active brand” does not mean associating themselves with a goofy pothead, regardless of Olympic medals… Right now, Jared is laughing and nodding, knowing that job security is sweet.
UPDATE: Until Michael Phelps returns to the Subway website or ever appears in any advertising, we stand by our insider, instead of any spin doctor spokesperson.Original here