What the world’s Twitterati made of cheatin’ Lance Armstrong’s Oprah Whinfrey confession

Been wondering what, if anything, to say about shamed former US cycling champ Lance Armstrong: only an idiot (such as the odd libel juror) would have assumed he wasn’t taking drugs or worse given the period in which he won seven Tours de France (anyone without the benefit of ‘medication’ would surely have been a bit tired).

And there’s always a degree of schadenfreude when another of Nike’s battery of expensively-sponsored stars comes a cropper. Wasn’t it great when Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods both failed to make the cut in some golf tournament in the desert last week? McIlroy even ditched his Nike putter after the first round (to no avail). That’s what you get for £85m lads.

I guess Nike’s expensive new ad campaign featuring the two will be parked in the nearest bunker while Nike executives drown their sorrows at the 19th hole. Or, knowing them, go out for a run.

Anyway, back to cheatin’ Lance. Unsurprisingly the Twittersphere went bonkers when he fessed up to Oprah Whinfrey, mostly in the US (obviously) but also Australia. The UK, home of that knight of the road Sir Bradley Wiggins, was less obsessed, with 62,000 or so Tweets. In all there were 1.9m.

Social media research firm Repucom has monitored all this stuff. “What we saw in the results, which was very interesting from the point of view of the Lance Armstrong brand, was the sheer lack of sympathy out there,” says Repucom UK and Ireland managing director Charlie Dundas. “From the analysis of the tonality of the discussion around the Oprah Winfrey interview, we could see the level of disappointment and anger was overwhelming. It’s clear the global public are far from ready to forgive Mr Armstrong.”

And Repucom has also produced a ‘topic wheel’ (which is a new one on me) about the reaction to the Armstrong interview in the UK, giving some of the gory details. Hope you can decipher it.

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About Stephen Foster

Stephen is a former editor of Marketing Week and London Evening Standard advertising columnist. He wrote City Republic for Brand Republic and is a partner in communications consultancy The Editorial Partnership.

One comment

  1. Stephen… Here’s what I wrote on AdScam last week…
    Phil Knight, CEO of Nike never met a disgraced sports villain he couldn’t learn to love again. When he was asked if Lance and Nike might patch things up after the cyclist admitted to his massive drug program, he responded, “Never say never.” This from the guy who in October was quoted as saying, “Due to the seemingly insurmountable evidence that Lance Armstrong participated in doping and misled Nike for more than a decade, it is with great sadness that we have terminated our contract with him.” Wow, that didn’t last long. Welcome back to the Tiger – Kobe – Vick Club, Lance. As Gordon Gecko put it so well “Greed is good.”