When Kellogg’s dropped bong-loving merman Michael Phelps, their spokeswoman stated “we decided to send a strong message to Michael because he disappointed so many people, particularly the hundreds of thousands of USA Swimming member kids who look up to him as a role model.” Though some called the decision hasty, it certainly sent a message: when you violate the law, the companies that use your image to peddle cereal or subs or what have you will reprimand you. Publicly.
Which begs the question: Why is Wrigley being so quiet about dropping Chris Brown?
Like Phelps, Brown acted as a spokesman, though in this case for Wrigley’s Doublemint gum, And like Phelps, Brown has violated the law–though I would argue, in a far more serious way. This past weekend, its been reported Brown violently beat his girlfriend, fellow popstar Rihanna. Brown turned himself in to the police Sunday evening and was booked for making criminal threats. Rihanna has canceled all of her upcoming events, including her 21st birthday party.
So what does Wrigley have to say about all this? “We believe Mr. Brown should be afforded the same due process as any citizen. However, we have made the decision to suspend the current advertising featuring Brown and any related marketing communications until the matter is resolved.”
Translation: Though suspended, his contract has not been dropped. And hey, people make mistakes! We’ll just see what happens.
Chew on this Wrigley: why don’t you stop trying to double our pleasure and instead double your response to these allegations against Brown? If Michael Phelps’ mild drug use can stir a company to call him out on what a disappointment he is, Chris Brown assaulting his girlfriend should absolutely warrant a strong response. When a company uses a young star specifically to promote their aging products to a youth market, it is socially irresponsible to not condemn the star for morally reprehensible behavior. You can’t say “Hey kids, watch your role model sing a song about our gum!” and not call him out on his non-role-model-like actions. Using this “…until the matter is resolved” rhetoric implies that there is a way to resolve a domestic violence charge, like Brown can do a sad-faced tour of the talk show circuit in a month and tell America how sorry he is, how it’ll never happen again, and promptly wander back into the product-shilling spotlight. What’s one way to stop that impending media tour from happening? By having his sponsors send a clear message that his actions are unacceptable and have serious consequences.
Want to call Wrigley out? Contact their Communications department and let them know it’s time to start communicating a stronger message about violence against women by calling 312-645-4754.