Ford Tough on Brands

The recent controversy around Rob Ford has damaged Toronto’s brand — so much so, it may take years for it to recover.

But among all the drugs, alcohol, inappropriate remarks and lessons (Failures in Public Relations 101), a few other brands have been distancing themselves from Toronto’s chief.

The Toronto Argonauts distanced itself from Ford after he made lewd remarks while wearing the team’s jersey, running counter to the organization’s anti-bullying work in the city.

The Ford Motor Company (itself staffed by people with much more, ahem, tolerant views than its founder) had to clarify that they in no way supported the mayor when his relentlessly loyal fanbase began printing shirts with the automaker’s logo on it.

When Mayor Ford admitted to having a few drinks and driving, Iceberg Vodka quickly released a statement reminding people of its firm stance against drinking and driving.

As all of these organizations know, once you put your brand out there, you can’t always control what or whom it becomes associated with. You may technically “own” your brand, but it’s public perception that shapes it. All you can do is distance yourself from the causes of the controversy.

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