Dear Ms. xxxx,
Thank you for contacting us at PepsiCo. Your message to Ms. Indra Nooyi was forwarded to my attention with a request to personally respond.
First let me thank you for your loyalty to our products over the years. We truly value your opinions and would regret losing you as a customer.
We understand that you may have received a duplicate response to your emails about Michael Vick and his relationship with the NFL. It's important for you to know that you've received our corporate statement on this matter. It was our goal to communicate this message quickly and consistently with anyone who reached out to us. That said, we surely hope our efforts are not mistaken for a lack of concern. I can assure you with certainly that individual comments are being shared with the executive team here at PepsiCo.
Ms. xxxxx, thank you once again for contacting us. We appreciate your candid feedback and the spirit in which it has been shared.
Hello, my name is Cathleen XXXX. I am writing to let you know that my family was once an avid consumer of Pepsi products. I say once because we are currently boycotting products related to the Eagles sponsors in response to the Eagles signing Michael Vick. I understand that you have no direct influence over the NFL players, but I also understand that money talks, and that if you were to withdraw your considerable sponsorship in protest of the Eagles decision to sign Vick that the Eagles may think twice about this decision and not keep him on past his trial basis. My husband and I are avid pitbull lovers and have been involved with the breed for years, the Michael Vick situation sickened us immensely. However, his being allowed to continue to make millions and be put in a possible role model situation almost sickens us more. Thank you for providing a product to the public, one that we very much enjoy, but understand that my family at least will no longer be consuming your product.
Thank you for your time,
Dear Mr. Saywell:
We thank you for contacting 7-Eleven regarding your concerns about the
news story that recently aired. 7-Eleven, Inc. entered into a five-year
sponsorship agreement with the Philadelphia Eagles in 2007 in an effort
to raise awareness of the 7-Eleven(r) brand of convenience retailing and
to connect with local sports fans. 7-Eleven's sponsorship of the
Philadelphia Eagles should not be construed in any way to mean that
7-Eleven condones or agrees with Mr. Vick's prior comments, views or
actions that led to his conviction on federal dog fighting charges.
Manager, Consumer Affairs
Eagles' sponsors stand by team after Vick signing
By DAN GELSTON, AP Sports Writer Dan Gelston, Ap Sports Writer – Thu Aug 20, 11:23 am ET
PHILADELPHIA – The Philadelphia Eagles' sponsors are standing by their team. That doesn't mean anyone is ready to put extra money in Michael Vick's pockets.
The Eagles had prepared for a backlash after signing the convicted dogfighting ringleader last week. But while Vick is disgraced in the court of public opinion — the one that drives lucrative endorsement deals — his addition has not jeopardized the team's corporate support.
None of the more than four dozen Eagles sponsors had pulled out as of Wednesday, said Marlyse Fant, Eagles vice president of sales and service.
The Eagles heard from about 15 to 20 sponsors on Friday, a day after Vick signed, but most simply wished they had been given advance notice to pass on to their customers.
"Our clients have been in close contact with us to stay up to date on information coming from the team, and most have noticed a significant reduction in their own volume of customer inquiries since Friday," she said on Wednesday.
The Eagles took a proactive approach, sending a letter to their top customers last week asking them to have faith that the team was not acting recklessly.
"We appreciate the complexity this creates for some partners and premium clients and ask that you join us in our support and optimism for Michael as he commits himself to showing Philadelphia and the country he is a changed human being," team president Joe Banner said in the letter.
Reaction from Eagles sponsors has varied. Radio rights holder 94-WYSP said it has had "little to no reaction" from the station's sponsors. PepsiCo Inc. said in a statement that Vick's illegal activities were "cruel and degrading" but backed the team.
"As sponsors of the NFL, we have the utmost confidence that the senior leadership at the NFL will continue to appropriately address this issue," Pepsi said.
Sponsors understood the move from a football standpoint.
They do not hold the same view of Vick. The brutal nature of his crimes — which included electrocuting, drowning and hanging dogs that underperformed in fights — are not going to fade quickly from the public's memory.
"He's too toxic for most companies to even consider taking a chance on him," said David Carter, who specializes in sports business and marketing as executive director of the USC Sports Business Institute.
Once a $130 million player, Vick was a corporate America favorite as the star quarterback of the Atlanta Falcons. His image was used to market everything from sneakers to sports drinks, usually aimed at the coveted 18 to 34 male demographic.
The Falcons paid Vick $23 million in 2005 and Forbes estimated his total compensation that year at $37.5 million with endorsements.
Only 26 and at the pinnacle of his career, Vick's life and marketability imploded amid the graphic details of a dogfighting operation he helped bankroll and participated in.
One of his most lucrative deals had been with Nike, which signed him as a rookie in 2001 but terminated his contract after he pleaded guilty in federal court in August 2007, ultimately serving 18 months in prison.
Nike offered only a terse comment on Vick this week. "Michael Vick does not have a contractual relationship with Nike. We will have no further comments at this time," the company said through spokesman Derek Kent.
Given the cruelty inherent in dogfighting, and the general public's emotional attachment to pets, endorsements for Vick are almost unimaginable at this point.
"When it comes to athletes' behavior, the fans have very short memories or don't seem to care," Carter said. "This one might prove to be different. It might be forgive and remember instead of forgive and forget, and that's a very big distinction."
Vick isn't being completely ignored, simply because he's back in the NFL. He was on the cover of the Madden NFL 2004 video game and was not included this year only because it was completed before NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell conditionally lifted Vick's suspension.
EA Sports made Vick available as part of a roster update on Wednesday.
"We're not judge and jury," EA Tiburon spokesman Rob Semsey said. "If he's approved by the NFL to come back and be signed by a team, he's just like any other player. We make sure our game is as authentic as possible. Adding Vick was a no-brainer."
Vick's replica Eagles jersey, which retails for $79.99, was the top seller on NFLShop.com as of Wednesday. Jersey maker Reebok did not return calls for comment.
But Dick's Sporting Goods, a Pennsylvania-based company, said Wednesday it is not currently selling Vick's jersey in any of its 300-plus stores.
"It is strictly a business decision, not at all a political statement of any kind. We are only in the business of meeting the needs of our customers," Dick's chief marketing officer Jeff Hennion said. "I personally have not heard any retailers with stores in the Philadelphia area talking up the demand for the jersey."
It's not inconceivable that Vick could one day return as a pitchman, but Carter said Vick first needs to rehabilitate his image. He must follow through on promises to get involved in animal rights' work and the public must believe he is genuine.
"It's going to be a nontraditional type company, one that doesn't mind the controversy," Carter said. "They would enjoy the notoriety and buzz created by signing him. You might see an upstart, maybe an apparel manufacturer with a real edge. But edgy and animal cruelty don't go together. It's going to have be one whose targeted consumers are more interested in his athletic appeal than his overall body of work."
HappyChick wrote:Damage control. Which means, our voices WERE HEARD!
Yay, Dick's Sporting Goods! I threw a lot of money their way when we lived in PA.
Thank you for contacting Pepsi. Your correspondence to Ms. Indra Nooyi was forwarded to my attention with a request to personally respond. After reading your thoughtful letter, we sincerely appreciate your taking the time to share your perspective with us.
Pepsi has had an upstanding business relationship with the Philadelphia Eagles organization since long before Michael Vick’s recent signing. It is truly unfortunate that one individual's actions have eclipsed the positive contributions by so many NFL players who have used their celebrity for good and have done tremendous charitable work in their communities.
I want to assure you that your concern and candid comments regarding this matter have been shared with the appropriate individuals within the organization.
Once again, many thanks for contacting us.
Dear Miss Saywell,
On behalf of Tasty Baking Company I wanted to recognize your e-mail concerning the Michael Vick signing by the Philadelphia Eagles. Please understand that Tastykake found out about the signing at the same time as the general public and that Tasty Baking Company has no input into the Eagles management and their personnel decisions. Tastykake takes our consumers’ concerns very seriously and our consumer response and marketing departments have been working together to assess this decision closely. For over 95 years Tastykake has been a staple in Philadelphia and the surrounding community. We appreciate your interest in our affiliations and recognize the impact they have. While no decision has been made with respect to changes in our partnership with the Eagles, I have forwarded your note to our management as well as our marketing team for their consideration. Once again we appreciate your opinion and look forward to continuing to provide you the best products and programs possible.
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