Sandwich chain Subway isn't dropping Olympian Michael Phelps as a sponsor yet — but it has removed all semblance of the swimmer from its website, and plans to delay its first TV campaign starring the gold medalist, which was originally slated for early 2009.
This is the fast-food chain's response after a photo broke last week of the Olympian smoking a bong. Immediately following the news, Kellogg's dropped its endorsement deal with the swimmer, and we wondered whether Phelps's other food sponsor, Subway, would follow the cereal maker's footsteps. Indeed, Phelps, who was all over the company's SubwayFreshBuzz website, which highlights "fresh celebrities," is no longer featured. The restaurant chain said in an official statement:
Like most Americans, and like Michael Phelps himself, we were disappointed in his behavior. Also, like most Americans, we accept his apology. Moving forward, he remains in our plans.
Considering the backlash that followed when Kellogg's dropped Phelps (a petition to boycott all of the brand's products), it's a smooth move on Subway's part to hang onto the swimmer, but have him lay low for a while. What's your opinion of the sandwich chain's strategy? Were you surprised they didn't end his endorsement deal?