EE drops campaign featuring Rita Ora after lockdown breaches

Brands could make increasingly strict demands of celebrity ambassadors' conduct, talent agent Victoria Marconetto-Tyson told Campaign.

EE: Rita Ora spot celebrated the Apple 12 Pro
EE: Rita Ora spot celebrated the Apple 12 Pro

EE has dropped its latest campaign featuring Rita Ora after the singer was involved in a number of breaches of government guidelines in relation to quarantine procedures and lockdowns.

Rita Ora featured in an augmented-reality ad celebrating the launch of the Apple 12 Pro in November, but the ad was dropped earlier than planned due to the singer's indiscretions, according to the Mirror.

Speaking to Campaign, talent agent and brand consultant Victoria Marconetto-Tyson said the story illustrated the challenges for brands in working with high-profile talent.

"Celebrities can add a huge pull to a brand - but they can also create moments of real 'ick' should the partnership not be quite as harmonious as hoped," she said.

"When an association is formed there are certain expectations and moral obligations from both sides to ensure neither reputations are brought into disrepute.

"In the past we've seen brands walk away from talent who have been snapped drinking a competitor's drink or wearing a competitor's trainer. Today, we see a major brand walk away from an equally major celebrity because their actions are irresponsible for the public's health given their clout."

The "Rita Ora skyline gig" spot launched on 12 November and was due to run throughout December.

Ora reportedly held a birthday party at a London restaurant on 28 November and received further scrutiny after it emerged she failed to self-isolate following a trip to Egypt where she performed on 21 November.

Ora has since apologised about her actions. In a statement, she said: "While I realise the apologetic words of a pop star might not carry much weight, especially one who has broken the rules like I have, I do realise that some might seek to follow my example. My message to them is simple: Please don't."

Marconetto-Tyson added: "With everything going on in the world right now, it is more important than ever that brands are acting responsibly and seen to be doing the right thing. Going forward, I think we will see even more brands placing a heightened focus on their ambassadors living and acting in a considerate (and rule-abiding) manner."

Campaign approached EE for comment.

This article first appeared on PRWeek sister title Campaign

Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Already registered?
Sign in