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Endorsement deals that have crashed and burned

When endorsement deals go wrong

Lofilolo | Getty Images

Endorsement deals have long been a common way to catapult a brand's significance.

But as the latest pulled partnership between former spokesman Jared Fogle and Subway shows, companies can be quick to end an endorsement deal if allegations about a spokesperson's behavior get in the way.

Here's a look back on other failed endorsements that didn't end so well.

By CNBC's Zack Guzman
Posted 20 Aug. 2015

Subway and Jared Fogle

Jared Fogle during Jared Fogle Launches 'Fight The Fat' Campaign at Subway.
David Lodge | FilmMagic | Getty Images

Jared Fogle was the public face of Subway for more than 15 years after eating at the sandwich chain contributed to him losing more than 200 pounds.

But that 15-year long partnership was suspended after news surfaced Fogle was the target of a child porn investigation.

Once it became clear Fogle was prepared to enter a guilty plea to charges related to child pornography and sexual conduct with minors, Subway terminated the relationship.

Fogle could face a maximum prison sentence of more than 12 years according to terms of the plea agreement.

Tiger Woods and a big dollar loss

Tiger Woods during EA Sports Celebrates the Launch of 'Tiger Woods PGA Tour 07.
Matthew Imaging | FilmMagic | Getty Images

Pro golfer Tiger Woods became the first athlete to hit the $1 billion earnings mark in 2009, according to Forbes. A large part of that came due to a plethora of endorsements from the likes of Accenture, AT&T and Gatorade.

But Woods' spotless image faded, also in 2009, after the golfer crashed his car in Florida, unleashing a bevy of questions which brought to light a string of alleged marital infidelities.

While Nike and EA Sports stood by Woods in the aftermath of the scandal, Accenture, AT&T and Gatorade all dropped the golfer.

A document acquired by CNBC showed the loss of deals cost Woods' management company IMG $4.6 million in lost revenue. An IMG spokesman would not publicly comment on the document at the time. Assuming an industry standard 20 percent fee, that much would amount to potentially up to $30 million in lost endorsement deals for Woods.

Lost deals and Paula Deen

Paul Dean was dropped by Smithfield Hams.
Source: Smithfield Hams | YouTube

Celebrity chef Paula Deen amassed an empire worth an annual $6.5 million, according to analysts with The NPD Group, but that number quickly dwindled after court documents revealed Deen had allegedly used racial slurs and discriminatory jokes in past years.

Companies choosing to end partnerships with the southern chef ranged from the Food Network, to Wal-Mart, to Home Depot and many others.

Potentially using offensive language also cost Deen her seven-year partnership with Smithfield Foods whose products were often promoted in the former Food Network star's recipes.

Nike and Michael Vick

Quarterback Michael Vick #1 of the New York Jets.
Jeff Zelevansky | Getty Images

Michael Vick exploded on the NFL scene not long after he was picked first overall by the Atlanta Falcons in the 2001 draft.

Nike was one of the first sponsors to sign him to a deal, agreeing to terms even before his rookie season began.

After many successful years in Atlanta and many iterations of Nike's Air Zoom Vick shoes, reports of Vick's involvement in a criminal dogfighting ring surfaced in 2007, prompting Nike to drop the star quarterback, calling cruelty "to animals inhumane, abhorrent and unacceptable."

In a rare twist Nike re-signed Vick to an endorsement deal in 2011 after he served 23 months in prison after pleading guilty to dogfighting charges. "Michael acknowledges his past mistakes," said Nike spokesman Derek Kent. "We do not condone those actions, but we support the positive changes he has made to better himself off the field."

Hertz and O.J. Simpson

OJ Simpson former spokesman for Hertz.
Source: YouTube

What NFL Hall of Fame running back O.J. Simpson accomplished on the field made him an ideal spokesperson for many companies. What he's also known for—facing charges of double murder—made him unusable to the rental car company that paid him.

Simpson had appeared in many ads for Hertz over the course of a decade, and continued appearing at events for the company in the '90s. But all of that ended in 1994 when Simpson faced murder charges.

Though Simpson was acquitted his image was marred making him all but unusable as a spokesperson.

Pepsi and Michael Jackson

Michael Jackson, spokesman for Pepsi in 1990.
KMazur | WireImage | Getty Images

Michael Jackson, the King of Pop, also employed his talents in commercials to tout pop for Pepsi.

Most were filmed without issue with one notable exception. Video of one commercial filmed in 1984 depicts a freak accident in which a pyrotechnics incident left Jackson with burns on his head and scalp. After Jackson was paid for damages, the relationship continued.

Following allegations that Jackson molested a young boy in 1993 he announced he would seek treatment for an addiction to painkillers and canceled the remainder of his "Dangerous" tour. The alleged child molestation matter was settled out of court and no criminal charges were ever filed.

Pepsi canceled the endorsement deal shortly after, downplaying any connection to anything other than the fact there was no tour to sponsor.