Top 10 ill-advised advertising promotions by cyclists
looks back at the advertising promotions the top professionals are really regretting.
Words by Edward Pickering
1 QUICK STEP PLANKS
The marketing department at Quick Step decided it would be a good idea for the leading Classics riders in the world, Paolo Bettini and Tom Boonen, to sheepishly pose holding laminate planks. They were in a minority. “Planks holding planks,” chortled the headline-writers.
2 FILIPPO POZZATO, NAKED (NSFW)
Eurosport viewers were visually assaulted between programmes earlier this year with the image of a greased-up, fully-waxed, naked Filippo Pozzato, covering his manhood with what looks like a size four Sidi, and wearing the kind of desperate smirk you see men wearing in nightclubs at two in the morning. Our eyes!
3 CONTADOR AS BUDDHA
Dignity is always one of the first things to go with athletes when they get famous. Surely Alberto Contador would have the self-awareness and enlightenment to say “no”, when Selle Italia asked him to pose as the Buddha? It would seem not, ironically.
4 ROBERT MILLAR – KELLOGGS START
The first time most people in Britain saw cycling on television was not the Tour de France, but 1984 Tour King of the Mountains Robert Millar and his bubble perm proclaiming the all-round healthy deliciousness of Kellogg’s Start in a series of cult adverts.
5 CUNEGO IN A WHITE DRESSING GOWN
The “Little Prince” was posed in a white towelling dressing gown which was one size too small, in a hotel room by Fizik for a 2005 campaign. It aimed to convey sophistication and urbanity. Unfortunately, it just ended up looking a bit pervy.
6 CHRIS HOY EATS SOME BRAN FLAKES
Hoy’s a trackie, so he doesn’t usually make it into Cycle Sport. Except that his recent advert for Kellogg’s Bran Flakes was the first time we’ve ever seen anybody out-acted by a bowl of cereal.
7 ANDY SCHLECK AND THE COMEDY FANS
Don’t get us wrong – we love Specialized bikes, especially 55cm-sized ones delivered free to the Cycle Sport office. But we’re still getting over seeing the Specialized ad featuring Andy Schleck on Verbier, with a couple of blokes in lime-green mankinis gurning in the background.
8 PAOLO BETTINI LOOKING LIKE A MURDERER
Paolo Bettini was supposed to look a little bit moody, dark and sophisticated in his 2007 “I am Specialized” ad. However, he looked more like a murderer, especially as they’d painted his fingers red.
9 LEVI LEIPHEIMER ADVERTISING CALIFORNIA
California had already blown their advertising budget on getting Arnie a 2-second slot at the end of last year’s campaign publicising the state, which meant they probably couldn’t afford the cyclist that everyone’s heard of, instead having to use the one that they hadn’t.
10 MANUEL QUINZIATO IS A BULL
So says the latest Manimal-influenced Fizik campaign featuring major cyclists morphing horribly into various animals. Half man, half bull? It can only be a matter of time before an angry smock-wearing mob bearing torches and pitchforks burns him at the stake.
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Edward Pickering is a writer and journalist, editor of Pro Cycling and previous deputy editor of Cycle Sport. As well as contributing to Cycling Weekly, he has also written for the likes of the New York Times. His book, The Race Against Time, saw him shortlisted for Best New Writer at the British Sports Book Awards. A self-confessed 'fair weather cyclist', Pickering also enjoys running.
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