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Ben Johnson returns in sports-drink ads

BenjohnsonSelf-deprecating humor is always welcome, but does it work 18 years after the fact? It’s been that long since sprinter Ben Johnson was stripped of his Olympic gold medal in the 100 meters after testing positive for steroids. It’s been 13 years since he was banned for life after testing positive again. Now, he’s suddenly resurfacing in ads for a sports drink called Cheetah Power Surge, in which he chats with the company’s CEO, Frank D’Angelo. “Ben, when you run, do you Cheetah?” D’Angelo asks in one spot. “Absolutely,” Johnson replies. “I Cheetah all the time.” Johnson is extremely grateful to D’Angelo for the chance to ridicule himself for money. “It takes a man of great foresight and forgiveness to look past an individual’s mistakes and see not what he has done, but what he can do,” Johnson says in a statement. “People make mistakes in life, but like many other sports stars today, they can and do turn their lives around.”

—Posted by Tim Nudd

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AdFreak is your daily blog of the best and worst of creativity in advertising, media, marketing and design. Follow us as we celebrate (and skewer) the latest, greatest, quirkiest and freakiest commercials, promos, trailers, posters, billboards, logos and package designs around. Edited by Adweek's Tim Nudd and David Griner.

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