Lance Armstrong and Livestrong: What it Means for Promotional Silicone Bracelets
The issue extends beyond Armstrong's personal turmoil. The consequences of his actions affect the Livestrong Foundation, as well as other organizations that adopted its tactics. Caught in the mix are promotional products suppliers and distributors, who now must ask whether the awareness bracelets, a strong seller for the last 10 years, have been stigmatized by the cyclist's ruined reputation. Does the association with a high-profile scandal diminish the effectiveness of a promotional item?
"Absolutely not," said Malia Anderson, marketing manager for CleggPromo, Gardena, Calif., citing the continued popularity of silicone bracelets with school promotions, street teams and awareness events. Every supplier interviewed for this piece agreed with Anderson, saying they saw no correlation between recent events and bracelet sales.
"The product has a life of its own separate from Livestrong," said Daniel Taylor, president of Woodbridge, Virginia-based BamBams, when discussing the popularity of silicone wristbands. "Hundreds of thousands of other organizations use the same product as part of their fundraising." Benn Chazan, sales manager at BamBams added, "people no longer associate silicone bracelets with Livestrong," saying the organization has is now known more for its charitable work.
Ad Bands, a supplier from Hot Springs, Ark., has sold promotional bracelets and wristbands for nearly 30 years. Formerly known as Alliance Rubber Company, the supplier launched the printed rubber bands in 1986 and has more experience than anyone with the product. Bonnie Swayze, company president of Ad Bands, told Promo Marketing that the company doesn't expect Armstrong's admission will impact sales in any way. "We don't think silicone bracelets will be affected by this controversy as they continue to be a recognized symbol of unity for numerous other foundations and fundraising causes," she said.
Even though the products saw a surge in popularity as a result of Armstrong's foundation, Swayze said people associate the item less with Livestrong and more with awareness campaigns in general. She also didn't see foresee trouble for the Foundation in the future. "The Livestrong Foundation has raised over $500 million to fight cancer," she said. "Most people are able to realize the positive results from the sale of the Livestrong wristband and separate it from the current controversy."