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Brands always take big risks when they team up with celebrities. Movie stars, pop singers, and athletes have been a great marketing tool; however, by the very virtue of their being constantly in the spotlight, any slipup can become a marketing disaster. The latest scandal to erupt involves none other than U.S. swimming sensation Michael Phelps, caught on camera apparently inhaling marijuana smoke from a bong, which has caused a major embarrassment for his sponsors including Kellogg, Visa, AT&T, and Speedo. On Feb. 1, Phelps issued an apology.
Whether he will continue to cash in on his eight Olympic gold medals remains to be seen. As the following slides illustrate, some celebrities such as Kate Moss have overcome scandals to resume successful and lucrative careers, while others, like O.J. Simpson, have become completely unbankable properties.