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Public Relations Case Study: Resurrecting Brand Vick

Updated on August 26, 2015

Examine the Resurrecting Brand Vick case study. Briefly describe and evaluate the actions of Michael Vick from 2006 to 2011.

Consider the following questions as you construct your initial post:

  • What do you think of Michael Vick’s decision to hold a press conference and accept jail time?
  • What do you think of Vick’s service as a spokesperson for the Humane Society after his re-entry into society? Do you feel that this act helped distance him from the practice of dog fighting, or do you see it as a reminder of his past transgressions?
  • If you were Michael Vick’s public relations advisor, what suggestions would you make for him to continue to rebuild his brand?

Elaborate on and fully support your positions.

Michael Vick was the three-time all-pro for the Atlanta Falcons with endorsement contracts from Nike, EA Sports, Coca-Cola, and other top corporations making him one of the top 10 richest athletes in the United States in 2006 (Seitel, 2013, p.344). Michael Vick’s world came crashing down when a series of incidents and choices he made eroded his public image. His fall began when a woman filled a lawsuit against him claiming that he knowingly gave her herpes (Seitel, 2013, p.345). Then, later in the same year, Michael Vick flashed a double-barreled salute at his fans after a game went badly. Michael Vick diffused his actions with a public apology, paying his team fine, and donating $10,000 to charity. In January 2007, Michael Vick was forced to surrender his water bottle to Miami International Airport security due to its marijuana like substance that was in the water bottle’s hidden compartment; ten days later he was exonerated as no marijuana was found (Seitel, 2013, p.345). In April of 2007, Michael Vick’s public image took a nose dive when it was discovered he was involved in dog fighting.

When his involvement in dog fighting was discovered, Michael Vick held a press conference where he apologized to his fans and the Falcon’s owner for the situation that they were being put through. At no point during the press conference did Michael Vick accept or state his guilt, instead he simply stated “there are a lot of things that needed to be worked out” (Seitel, 2013, p.345). In August 2007, Michael Vick held another press conference to inform the public that he accepted a plea agreement from the federal government, that he would work to redeem himself during his 23 months in prison, and to share his understanding of dog fighting as a terrible thing which he rejects (Seitel, 2013, p.345). From a public image stand point Michael Vick made the correct decision in accepting prison time as it showed that he accepted his guilt and that he would work towards redemption. I feel that his decision to accept jail time is what allowed him to make a comeback because of his willingness to seek redemption instead of fighting the charges.

When Michael Vick was released from prison he became a spokesperson for the Humane Society where he gave speeches, “on the depravity of the dogfighting activities with which he formerly was associated” (Seitel, 2013, p.346). I feel that his decision to become a spokesperson for the Humane Society was a good decision because it showed the public how much he had changed; this action allowed him to use his publicity as the 2010 National Football League’s Comeback Player of the Year to convince other people to avoid making the same bad decisions he did. I believe that he should have done more than just speak about the depravity of the dogfighting; he should have gotten involved with dogfighting rescue groups and helped to rehabilitate fighting dogs. His decision to act as a spokesperson for the Humane Society did help to remind people of his past transgressions, but I do not see that as a negative as he was showing the public that he had been involved in dog fighting, but that he had changed and now sought to help to stop dogfighting from occurring.

If I were Michael Vick’s public relations advisor, I would have advised him to become involved with dogfighting rescue groups, to use his public image to help find rehabilitated fighting dogs homes, and to invite the public to volunteer with him to help put an end to dog fighting. If Michael Vick made himself into a public figure people associated with helping to end dog fighting, and a person who aids the victims of dog fighting, then it would have helped the public to separate the person he was before prison from the person he was after prison. This would have made it easier for the public to get behind him again and it would have made companies more likely to endorse him.


Seitel, F. (2013). The Practice of Public Relations (12th ed.). Harlow: Prentice Hall.

  • Explain your thoughts on Nike’s reinstatement of Michael Vick as an endorser. If you were responsible for advising corporate sponsors, what type of endorsement, if any, would you suggest that they create with Michael Vick now that he is back in the NFL?


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    • misty103 profile image

      misty103 2 years ago

      Hi DJ Anderson & fpherj48,

      I agree with you both 100% he never should have been allowed to play football again and he should have been fined a lot more than he was. People like him who feel they can hurt animals for some sort of sick amusement should not be allowed to become public figures. I do not feel for one second that he was actually redeemed because if he honestly felt bad about what he did then he would be doing a LOT more to make up for it.

      I hope everyone has a great evening,


    • fpherj48 profile image

      Paula 2 years ago from Beautiful Upstate New York

      Misty.....I have no interest in football whatsoever. Never heard the name Michael Vick until he was busted for his egregious crime of running a dog-fighting ring. That was really all I needed to learn to know what sort of disgusting piece of crap he is.....I couldn't care less how many millions he has. In fact, that should boggle the mind of any human being that a wealthy athlete STILL felt the need to make more money on the side by the blood of beautiful, innocent animals....or whatever sick reason he was involved in that slaughter for 5 years.

      I never really cared what was done to him for punishment, fines, imprisonment, public service......big deal. None of it makes up for his evil deeds. If he feels vindicated and/or forgiven, that's a matter for him, his fans and his God, if he has one. My opinion of him is permanent. Many others may feel differently. Good for them.

      Myself (as well as my family & friends) are all dog owners and dog LOVERS. Quite frankly, our "dogs" so to speak are really our "kids" and treated as family. For the life of me I cannot fathom how "savages" find pleasure in watching & betting on dogs fight until one is ripped to shreds and dies. These cannot be human beings.....can they?

      I doubt I really need to say much more in terms of Mr. Vick the Pr*ck, do I?......I'm confident you understand what I think.

      Have a great evening. Peace, Paula

    • profile image

      DJ Anderson 2 years ago

      Misty, I am a dog lover. Oddly, I am a woman who truly enjoys NFL football.

      When my husband broke the news, yesterday, that Pittsburg had signed Michael Vick, I became physically ill.

      Vick was never really made to feel the harm he had done. A slap on the wrist does not compute to a man without a heart. The only way to really reach someone and make them aware of their wrong doing is to find their hurt button. Vick's hurt button is money and football. Without them, he does not exist. Vick has never redeemed himself. They let him off by making him sit in the corner for 23 months and fined him $5,000.

      Five thousand dollars would be a dinner out with his friends. PALTRY!

      That is comparable to spitting on a house fire. Shameful, really.

      He had been running this dog fighting ring for five years. I wonder how many dogs gave their lives to entertain Vick and his buddies?

      Vick should never have been allowed to play professional sports ever again. No play, no pay. Then, Michael Vick may have glimpsed the

      enormity of his hideous acts of cruelty.

      Shame on the Pittsburg Steelers!! May any team be cursed that signs

      up this animal abuser.

      DJ. Anderson