NBA player Ja Morant, of the Memphis Grizzlies, seems to be facing more consequences after he brandished a gun while on Instagram Live on Saturday, March 4. According to The Drum, Coca-Cola has “wiped” its “largest campaign” featuring Morant due to his recent action.
RELATED: UPDATE: Ja Morant Won’t Face Criminal Charges After Brandishing Gun On Instagram Live
Powerade plans to pull their ad with Ja Morant, per @nypost pic.twitter.com/tQ8RkwohYV
— NBACentral (@TheNBACentral) March 13, 2023
Powerade Spotlighted Ja Morant In Its Largest Campaign Earlier This Month
On March 1, Coca-Cola unveiled the 23-year-old NBA player as the face of their latest, and largest, Powerade campaign, as reported by The Drum. According to the outlet, the campaign was part of the brand’s intent to “supersede its competitors in the sports drink category.”
Morant was chosen as Powerade’s first “athlete partner” in over five years. Additionally, the initiative featured a $10 million national television campaign that would chronicle Moran’ts journey “from underestimated to undeniable.”
The advertisement would show Morant’s rise from a “high school recruit to league-wide star.”
Why The Brand Chose To Highlight Ja Morant
Powerade was reportedly acquired by its competitor Bodyarmor earlier this year. The intention is for Bodyarmor to assume responsibility for the brand, with the “unanimous goal of making Powerade #1.”
Bodyarmor’s chief marketing officer, Matt Dzamba, explained the company’s decision to highlight Ja Morant as the face of the $10 million campaign.
“[Morant] was underestimated early on in his career — being an unranked high-school recruit with only two college offers — and used that as motivation to become one of the best and most-feared players in the NBA today.”
An additional quote shared that the company was “pumped” for the campaign’s airing.
“We’re pumped up for what lies ahead and there’s no doubt that Powerade will be a force to be reckoned with and a relentless competitor going forward, as showcased by [Morant] every time he takes the court.”
Coca-Cola Pulls The Plug On Morant’s Powerade Commercial
According to The Drum, the first national television spot for Morant’s advertisement was set to “debut on TruTV on March 14 ahead of March Madness, with supportive TV spots airing across TNT, TBS, and CBS.” The commercial was also set to stream via “NCAA March Madness Live, Xbox, Roku, and Twitch.”
However, due to Morant’s recent brandishing of a gun on Instagram Live, the company has pulled its 60-second ad starring the player. The Drum reports that Coca-Cola has made public videos of the ad private on its social media platforms.
Drew Kerr, a brand communications consultant spoke exclusively with the outlet. He shared what he thinks Coca-Cola should do moving forward.
“The best thing for Coke to do is say as little as possible. Coke should say it is pausing its Powerade advertising until it confirms the facts of what has been transpiring. That pause may last a short time but it sends a message that they are vetting the situation seriously. They don’t need to give away anything else at this time.”
More Details About The Livestream Where Ja Morant Was Seen Holding A Gun
As The Shade Room previously reported, Morant will not face criminal charges after brandishing a gun via Instagram Live on March 4.
Ja Morant showing off his gun on Instagram live today.
— Savage (@SavageSports_) March 4, 2023
The live stream, which occurred from a Colorado strip club was investigated by the Glendale Police Department. However, authorities “concluded that no one was threatened or menaced with the firearm.” Nor was a firearm “ever located” by police.
On March 8, the Memphis Grizzlies released a statement explaining Morant would be suspended from the team’s next four games.
Statement from the Memphis Grizzlies pic.twitter.com/B3gk6injgK
— Grizzlies PR (@GrizzliesPR) March 8, 2023
Roommates, what do you think about these additional consequences that Ja Morant is facing?