Now here’s something to open a can of carbon worms. Whereas his new UCI WoldTour team Lampre-Merida is sponsored by Sidi, when it comes to shoes it seems reigning World Road Champion Rui Costa prefers wearing Bont. To solve the impasse his team has him rather ingeniously – or despicably depending on who you ask – wearing overshoes cleverly designed to look like actual Sidi shoes in Dubai this week. This led to the following comment from Bont CEO, Steven Nemeth on Facebook earlier today. Sure Nemeth is no doubt a little predisposed towards his own products (what CEO isn’t?). But far beyond the brand rivalry, he does have a pretty valid point, doesn’t he?
“Ahhh, the desperation of Sidi to make it look like Rui is riding their shoes. Having shoe covers made that look like real shoes to hide the real truth. Not exactly honest marketing, very uncool. The real truth, that’s the Zero+ under the cover. Why is he still wearing Bont? Simple, BETTER SHOES! Deceptive marketing. Is that really a great sign of integrity…….” Steven Nemeth, CEO, Bont
What do you think? Should sponsors force athletes to wear/use their gear under all circumstances? Or should they just let them use what they’re most comfortable with? Or…..is deception like this okay?