Case | HBS Case Collection | November 1991

Magic Johnson: Endorsements ""After""...?

by Stephen A. Greyser

Abstract

On Thursday, November 7, 1991, Los Angeles Lakers star Earvin "Magic" Johnson announced his retirement from basketball in the wake of having tested positive for HIV, the virus that causes AIDS. Magic Johnson was one of the most popular figures in sports, both nationally and internationally. Among the many affected by Johnson's sudden retirement were his commercial sponsors, a group of companies comprising both sporting goods and other consumer products. The case looks at the situation through the lens of the sponsors. Should they retain their association with Johnson? If so, for how long and in what ways? Provides students with the opportunity to put themselves in the shoes of a marketing director, faced with the sudden reversal of fortune of one of the company's key endorsers. Allows for role playing from various perspectives: that of the MD of a sporting goods company compared to the MD of some other consumer product for example.

Keywords: Marketing Strategy; Value; Sports; Advertising; Alliances; Problems and Challenges; Decision Choices and Conditions; Brands and Branding; Consumer Products Industry; Sports Industry; Entertainment and Recreation Industry;

Citation:

Greyser, Stephen A. Magic Johnson: Endorsements ""After""...? Harvard Business School Case 592-057, November 1991.