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Episode Seven: Man And Machine
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An online poker site is dropping Uruguayan soccer star Luis Suárez as an endorser and Adidas is dialing back his presence in ads after he bit an opposing player during a match this week, the companies said.
Adidas has taken Mr. Suárez out of the remainder of its World Cup marketing plans and will remove an outdoor ad featuring him that has become an unofficial tourist attraction in Brazil over the past few days, an Adidas spokeswoman said.
Mr. Suárez is one of his sport's popular players and an Adidas pitchman, but he became one of the stories of the World Cup this week as well after biting the Italian player Giorgio Chiellini. Within hours of the incident, the internet was bursting with Suarez-related jokes and images, including several from prominent brands including Snicker's, TGI Friday's, Listerine, JC Penney, Nando's and Paddy Power.
I think it's safe to say Uruguay was hungry for the win.— TGI Fridays (@TGIFridays) June 24, 2014
Before long, a pre-existing Adidas ad featuring a picture of a toothy, snarling Mr. Suárez was attracting people and their cameras as well.
Adidas spokesperson Lauren Lamkin said its endorsement deal with Mr. Suárez "remains unchanged at this time," but the company is unhappy about the incident. "We certainly do not condone Luis Suárez's recent behavior and we will again be reminding him of the high standards we expect from our players," Ms. Lamkin said in an email.
Poker website 888poker said Friday that it was dropping Mr. Suárez as a brand ambassador, just six weeks after announcing that it had signed him up.
This is the third time Mr. Suárez has been caught biting an opposing player during a match. He has also previously been disciplined for stomping on opponents. Earlier this week, FIFA said it would ban Suarez from competition for four months. According to Ms. Lamkin, Adidas "fully supports" FIFA's decision.