Bill Cosby Allegations: Networks Cut off Cosby Cold Turkey: Brand Representation & Reputation

Recent allegations set forth against Bill Cosby have caused major problems, both in the social realm and within corporate communications. Bill Cosby has been accused of rape on a number of occasions, with numerous women coming forward. They are coming forth, however, years after the statutory laws for charging Cosby have expired. While Cosby will not be prosecuted, his credibility and reputation within society will be put on trial. In addition to his own personal brand image, his endorsers are quickly disassociating from him in order to prevent backlash and negative association.

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Companies often use spokespersons as role models who extend or embody their principles. By association with Cosby, many of these Networks would be endorsing rapists, thus creating backlash amongst the community. For example, Netflix did not air a Cosby special after the news of rape reports surfaced. In addition, NBC cancelled an upcoming show in development with Cosby in order to prevent negative association. While Cosby is not technically guilty in the court of law, a group of his peers and brave women who have come forward have spoken enough to change the minds of America. This, as a result, has further crystallized Cosby’s newfound reputation as a rapist.

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This situation is reminiscent of that with Paula Dean, the famous Food Network star who faced racist allegations. Her sponsors immediately dropped her and dissociated. While the entire incident left Dean without any credibility, it also tarnished the brands’ representations she was associated with.

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In this day and age, companies and corporations should be selective in choosing whom to hire or use as spokespersons. They must also prepare a conflict resolution strategy should any crises such as the aforementioned arise. This will ensure corporations can maintain their positive reputations and enforce positive associations for the companies and their stakeholders. What does the Cosby situation mean for his career? Will this be forgotten? Or will networks and companies continue to disassociate?

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2 thoughts on “Bill Cosby Allegations: Networks Cut off Cosby Cold Turkey: Brand Representation & Reputation

  1. Everything is a catch 22 when it comes to sponsorships and celebrities these days. What I mean by this is that if they don’t dissociate themselves then they will lose customers and respect. There’s the other side though, people like me who think less of the brand because they are dissociating with someone who has not been proven guilty yet. We live in a country that claims we’re innocent until proven guilty, but the opposite is true.

    I think it’s tough to make the call, but safer for companies to remove themselves from the alleged offender’s circle. I actually think Cosby is guilty based on his evasion or saying “no comment”, but he’s still not guilty in reality. So, like I said, it’s a catch 22 in these types of situations.

    Even if a company is selective, everyone is a liability for something. Anything can happen to anyone, so even if a company feels they chose wisely in their spokesperson, there’s the chance that some crisis may happen.

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  2. He should be prosecuted. There should be no “statutory laws for charging Cosby have expired,” in my opinion. Rape (any crime) should not have an expiration date. Also, I agree with every network and other other corporate or non-corporate organization that made the decision to completely “cut the strings.” Theses companies have a reputation to uphold, shareholders/stockholders, employees, consumers, and ultimately ethics that will forever define their companies. Get rid of Cosby…

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