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Public Relations Case Study: Resurrecting Brand Vick
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?