London: Ashley Young was axed from a major advertising campaign just hours after missing out on his vital penalty shot against Italy.
Energy drink firm Lucozade, which had used Young for its TV and print adverts, ordered any image or reference of the Manchester United star to be dropped the morning after last Sunday’s heart-breaking Euro 2012 quarter-final defeat, a newspaper reported.
Bosses frantically called and emailed broadcasters and publishers on Monday asking them to stop running the Ashley Young “Performance” campaign so that his penalty failure would not harm Lucozade’s image.
“Post Ashley’s glorious failure in the penalty shoot-out last night I think it would be wise for us to stop running the AY (Ashley Young) TV creative immediately. Could you please ensure that it isn’t aired again,” an email sent out by a company executive said
The email, entitled “Ashley Young ad”, went out to their campaign team requesting the immediate removal of all items featuring Young. The message was then passed on to media outlets.
He also asked publishers to revert back to a version of the campaign featuring Olympians Mo Farah and Phillips Idowu.
The executive even told his team to consider pulling any print adverts – made by PR firm Grey London – and remove any internet search links between Young and Lucozade. The orders were carried out within two hours of the email.
Midfielder Young, 26, sparked the flurry of activity when he thumped his penalty against the crossbar on Sunday night, as England crashed out of the tournament 4-2 in the shootout after the match finished 0-0.
Young signed up to the “Faster. Stronger. For Longer.” marketing campaign in April.
The TV advert, which was launched at half-time in the crunch Premier League clash between Man United and Man City, features Young scoring a last-minute goal in an imaginary game.
He is first seen drinking a bottle of Lucozade Sport before sprinting past a defender to get to the ball.
In the print adverts Young, who reportedly earns more than 100,000 pounds-a-week with Man Utd, leaps to control a ball with the campaign slogan underneath.
“It seemed pretty cruel to be axing someone just for missing a penalty,” an advertising source said
A spokesman for GlaxoSmith Kline, which owns Lucozade, confirmed the email had been sent and a direction had been given to remove the ads.
But he said that Young is still a Lucozade ambassador, adding: “The team lost but our commitment to Ashley is the same as it was before the match. He’s one of the most exciting players in the world and we’re delighted he’s a Lucozade Sport ambassador.”