No, they are not both NFL players and they are not both pitchmen for Subway. And, NO Tom Brady is not involved in the same egregious acts as Fogle ... although many take a dim view of the allegations against him, compounded by destroying his phone.
But, both individuals represent their respective "franchised" brands and their actions have sullied those brands. In Brady's case, New England fans may argue that NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell is the culprit, but Brady's challenges have escalated the attention and, some would say, the damage to the brand.
Franchising and brand awareness go hand-in-hand. I have written about the importance of brand enforcement before here and here. But how do you control brand disasters like Fogle ... and to some degree Brady? While there is not a single answer for both situations, there may be individual remedies for these very different scenarios:
- Fogle and Subway - never get too attached to one "celebrity"; your brand may rise or fall with the actions of that spokesperson. Diversify!
- Brady and the Patriots - assess whether fighting a "penalty" is worth it. Would Brady and the Patriots be better off if they said "we don't like, we did not do this but in the interest of our fans and the team as a whole we will accept the penalty"? All the attention would be over. And now, does it matter if Brady wins or loses his appeal? The damage is done and has been in the headlines the entire summer! Brady may win the appeal, but he and the Patriots have lost the remaining luster of the brand (some believe it was already tarnished).
So be careful out there - guard your brand and figure out your best damage control strategy when disaster strikes!