Thursday, August 25, 2016

Ryan Lochte gets two hard, soothing offers

AH AMERICA, land of second chances. This country’s capacity for accommodating reinvention is unlike anywhere else. Here the mighty are fallen, run through their respective purgatories and rehabilitated (usually at one of the available late-night TV clinics).

And despite our country’s long preoccupation with preferential treatment, the revival of cratering fortunes is an equal opportunity opportunity; everyone from actors to politicians gets a chance to mount a comeback.

Even Olympic swimmers.

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On Thursday, Adweek reported that Pine Bros. Softish Throat Drops signed an endorsement deal with Lochte, who'll be showing up in commercial and print ads for the brand. Just the thing for the man who’s probably talked himself hoarse in the last week.

Lochte's ads for Pine Bros. will feature the tagline, "Pine Brothers Softish Throat Drops: Forgiving On Your Throat," just as the company—and Lochte, himself —is asking the public to forgive him.

"We all make mistakes, but they're rarely given front-page scrutiny," said Pine Bros. CEO Rider McDowell in a statement. "He's a great guy who has done incredible work with charities. I'm confident that Pine Bros. fans will support our decision to give Ryan a second chance."

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By now you know the saga of Ryan Lochte, whose brief stop in Rio de Janeiro for Olympic gold cost him more of another kind of gold than he might have thought possible. After competition, Lochte was out with three other Olympian studs ( Jack Conger, Gunnar Bentz and Jimmy Feigen ). According to their statement, their taxi was pulled over by armed men posing as cops. The real police contradicted them, saying the swimmers, who’d gone to a late-night party, never reported the incident, and also reportedly saying there was little proof that a robbery ever happened.

Video surveillance showed Lochte & Co. getting into some dustup with armed security guards over alleged vandalism at a gas station. After drinks and dinner, tried to gain entrance to a service station bathroom whose door was locked. Lochte and friends acted the fool, tried to force the door, couldn’t get in and finally relieved themselves outside the station.

Since this crap started, Lochte’s admitted he was drunk and made the proper all-apologies. He was publicly embarrassed ... and lo and behold, shortly after his arrival in the States, he discovered how high bad news can go. Ralph Lauren and Speedo, two of his major sponsors, and skin-care firm Syneron-Candela decided to end their relationship with Lochte, more or less immediately after the Rio Games ended.

Lochte offered a mea culpa of sorts — "I respect Speedo's decision and am grateful for the opportunities that our partnership has afforded me over the years," he said — but the decision by the three companies likely put a sizable hurt on his finances for this year.

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WHAT’S A swimmer to do? Never fear. The Pine Bros. offer came in on Thursday, but the day before, straight outta Chicago, another solution emerged to save Lochte in his hard times. Autoblow 2, billed by its manufacturer as “the first robotic male masturbation device with the build quality of a kitchen appliance,” came to the rescue with an offer wrapped in a plain brown press release.

“As Olympic Gold Medalist Ryan Lochte returns to the US having lost all of his major endorsements and sponsors, Autoblow 2 inventor Brian Sloan has decided to give him a second chance.

“It takes years of dedication and practice to win one Olympic Medal let alone 12, so I see in him a man with qualities our brand stands for. I forgive him for his mistake and want to put him in front of an audience of men who admire him as the champion he is to help us promote the champion of masturbation devices: the Autoblow 2,” Sloan said.

“The Autoblow 2’s tireless motor exemplifies the Olympic spirit much as Lochte did while winning his medals,” he added.

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Then Autoblow got serious, with the offer itself: “We will send him to a photo studio and pay him $10,000 for a photograph of him holding the Autoblow 2+ while smiling and pointing at it. We will add the following caption and use the image in our advertisements: Autoblow 2: the masturbation device Olympic champions chose.”

There’s no word yet on whether Lochte will accept this offer, but don’t hold your breath. Winning 12 Olympic medals has a curious way of elevating one’s career prospects by default.

Despite their lofty visibility against the backdrop of a Global Event, Lochte’s transgressions aren’t any worse than those of your average mushwit college sophomore.

And anyway, fewer things are less likely to return him to the good graces of advertisers and product endorsements than plugging a ... a robotic male masturbation device with the build quality of a kitchen appliance. Endorsing actual kitchen appliances would probably make more sense.

Ryan Lochte’s going through a bit of rough patch right now. But no worries: with two hard, soothing offers — one of which he’s accepted — he likely won’t miss a stroke.

Image credits: Lochte top: Streiter Lecka. Lochte Pine Bros. ad still: Pine Bros via TMZ. Speedo logo: © 2016 Speedo. Autoblow logo: © 2016 Autoblow.

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