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July 27, 2015
Will Hulk Hogan Hurt WWE’s Brand Image?
 
The fallout from the leaked audio of Hulk Hogan’s “pillow talk” with his mistress is absolutely incredible. From being almost Mr. WWE to even existing in record books, stores, or even Vince MacMahon’s diary is a feat that, to our knowledge, has never been done.

Even the late and ill-fated Benoit gets mentioned from time to time.

This Hero to Zero story could have some interesting advertising implications for the Wrestling Entertainment community.

First and foremost, they lost a spokesman. Not just a spokesman, but a brand symbol and testament of what entertainment, a great video personality, and a person who people can believe in can do for your brand.

Hulk Hogan was never, anecdotally speaking, mistaken for being with a different brand or company.

Second, with all the money that the WWE invested in the Hulk Hogan image, the company must think: Is it worth trying to find another person, another brand, worth investing that much in? If they do (a third point), how can they safeguard themselves from this kind of attention?

It must be noted that an event like this is rare, so it would be a natural assumption that the brand did not think that an extremely hateful and racist tirade would sink one of their most lovable brands ever.

But we are human, and one thing humans love is miscalculating risk.

Then again, even looking at the risk, seeing the decades of growth in wrestling entertainment and all the event merchandise sales, the marketing heads may come to an interesting conclusion.

The risk might be worth it.

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Dwayne W. Waite Jr. is partner and principal at JDW: The Charlotte Agency, a marketing and advertising shop in Charlotte, NC. He enjoys consumer behavior, economics, and football.
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