Embattled Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte is continuing his apology tour by appearing in a truly weird and perhaps intentionally bad ad for Pine Bros. Softish Throat Drops.
Unlike counterpart Michael Phelps, perhaps the greatest Olympian of all time, Lochte gained notoriety at the 2016 Summer Olympics for all the wrong reasons—by falsely claiming to be the victim, along with fellow swimmers, of a gunpoint robbery at a Rio gas station.
The campaign ties the "forgiving" nature of the drops on sore throats to a plea to forgive Lochte for his transgressions. The ad features Lochte sitting at a Hollywood soundstage, shuffling his bare feet in a pile of leaves as "Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer" plays in the background and fake snow swirls around him. "Soft, delicious Pine Bros. throat drops on a sore throat – they magical!" he says. The spot ends with a title card that reads: "Pine Bros.: In this Season of Forgiveness."
Lochte inked the Pine Bros. sponsorship deal in August after being dropped by major sponsors Speedo and Ralph Lauren in the wake of the Rio controversy. Since Rio, Lochte competed on Dancing With the Stars, finishing seventh, and became engaged to a Playboy model. He recently announced he and his fiancee are expecting a baby and that he plans to compete at the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.
"We all make mistakes, but they're rarely given front-page scrutiny," said Pine Bros. CEO Rider McDowell in a statement. "[Lochte's] a great guy and dad-to-be who has done incredible work with charities. I'm confident that Pine Bros. fans will support our decision to give Ryan a second chance."