Nike Cuts Ties with Livestrong, Will Stop Manufacturing Iconic Bracelets
Even if the product remains, will it retain the same promotional power as it did pre-scandal? "Without Lance, Livestrong would be just another cancer charity scrapping for funds," said Bill Gifford of Outside Magazine. The same argument can be made for the yellow bands: without Nike's support and marketing, are the bracelets just another product with a nonprofit logo?
"Silicone bracelets are far beyond Livestrong, and it will not affect them at all," Benn Chazan, account executive for BamBams, told Promo Marketing earlier this year when news broke of Armstrong's cheating. Several other awareness band suppliers agreed with Chazan and said sales for the popular promotion stayed constant or increased last year. Gel bracelets remain popular fundraising items for nonprofits like Susan G. Komen for the Cure and Alex's Lemonade Stand, and are still regularly sold as fashion accessories in retail stores.
While the use of awareness bracelets for fundraising and fashion is expected to remain popular, the future of Livestrong's yellow wristband is less certain. An article in The Atlantic Wire, Lance Armstrong Killed the Livestrong Bracelet, said "its product is damaged goods" and projects a significant drop in fundraising ability. The Associated Press reports that Livestrong has reduced its budget by 11 percent in anticipation of reduced fundraising ability, and an article on Yahoo asked, "Is the charity doomed?"
"Right now we're hoping for the best and expecting the worst," said Doug Ulman, CEO of Livestrong, in an interview with Fast Company. "There are still people who believe Nike owns and created the brand. That's a big problem. The brand outgrew the foundation message." Despite that, Ulman remained optimistic that people would see the good that Livestrong has done, and hoped other sponsors would soon join the foundation to support its staff and mission.