LONDON – Brand Beckham, the company that handles endorsements for David Beckham and his wife, Victoria, has lost its primary director, fuelling speculation the star’s allure could be fading as he nears the end of his football career.
Simon Fuller, the media mogul and creator of Pop Idol, yesterday stepped down from his lead role behind CKX’s 19 Entertainment, which handles about a third of the Beckham’s joint business affairs.
As director at Brand Beckham Limited since 2003, Fuller has launched a range of dVb branded products for Victoria and David, including perfumes.
Fuller’s exit this week has raised questions surrounding David Beckham’s strength as a brand ambassador.
Having already lost several high-profile deals of the past few years, injury has also ruled 34-year-old Beckham out of a potential last appearance on the footballing world stage in South Africa.
But Robin Fenwick, managing director at sponsorship agency Right Formula, believes there is still strength in Brand Beckham, calling him “one of probably five sports people that are recognised globally instantly, so he is still effective for brands.”
Fenwick warned the star’s high price tag and brands’ desire to support fresh, emerging talent will count against him.
Stuart Wareman, business director at MEC Access, agrees that Brand Beckham is “still strong”, noting Backham’s is the name every 2018 Back the Bid sponsor wants at their events.
He added: “He is a fashion icon and a celebrity in his own right, working with brands such as Armani, but if England is successful in winning the right to stage the 2018 FIFA World Cup, he will continue to be in demand from a sporting perspective as well.
“His star isn’t fading, but is being refocused as he nears the end of his playing career.”
Beckham’s current high profile deals include being a brand ambassador for Addidas and Motorola.
As Motorola brand ambassador he landed himself in hot water in May last year, after pictures appeared showing him using an iPhone. The shots followed Beckham fronting an ad campaign for Motorola’s £1,400 Aura handset the previous month.
In 1999 he was dropped from ads by the brand Brylcreem for shaving his head, having signed a deal to become its Brylcreem Boy in 1998.
Beckham has also appeared in ads in the UK promoting California as a tourist destination, along side Arnold Schwarzenegger, as well ads for the pen brand Sharpie.
In 2007 his decision to sign a deal with Major League Soccer’s LA Galaxy triggered the end of his sponsorship deal with Gillette.
In 2008 Go3, the healthy food range, launched a range of products including Omega 3 fish fingers, pasta wraps and omelettes, and Beckham had been involved in the development of the food range. He appears on packaging and in the marketing activity.
At the start of 2009 Pepsi parted with Beckham, ending a ten-year association, following a mutual decision by both parties.
In January, Real Madrid and Portugal footballer Cristiano Ronaldo appeared in his first ads for Armani since taking over from Beckham as the “official worldwide testimonial” for Emporio Armani Underwear and Armani Jeans. Victoria has also previously appeared in ads for the fashion brand.
Andrew Hawkins, managing director at DCH, said Beckham will “always have a place in Britain’s heart” and added that “Brand Beckham has always evolved with the times and will continue to do so, with or without Fuller.”