King of Shaves snaps up Olympic hopeful as new brand ambassador

The shaving brand has invested £30,000 into runner James Ellington to help him get to the Olympics. Time to get out the 'Bladerunner' pun, wethinks?

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 27 Oct 2014

You may remember Ellington's name from newspaper headlines back in December. The Olympic hopeful - and third fastest 200m runner in the UK - failed to secure sponsorship to fund his training for the 2012 Games after being plagued by injuries. In desperation, he launched a campaign to find the cash via eBay. 

There were over 100 bites, but when the auction ended, Ellington found out that the top bidder was a hoax. His hopes of securing £30,000 for training were dashed. But all was not lost...

King of Shaves founder and CEO Will King found out about tthe athlete's plight and contacted him via Twitter. The shaving boss agreed to stump up the whole sponsorship fee as part of the ongoing KoS 'Young Blades' athletics initiative. Ellington is over the moon: 'Will King and King of Shaves stepped in and ‘shaved’ my life!' he quipped. 'Now I can focus on winning a medal for Great Britain in the 2012 Olympics.'

To qualify for a place at the Olympics for Team GB, Ellington will have to get one of the top two qualifying times at the national championships in July. This sponsorship money means he can give up work and focus on training and nutrition - upping his chances of getting through the heats.

But what's in it for the brand? King says that he was initially attracted to the personal element of the story. 'I found out about James when one of my followers forwarded me a link on Twitter,' he says. 'I saw his story and thought he'd showed initiative with the eBay thing. I get contacted by loads of people, looking for sponsorship for this or that, but he stood out.'

The terms of the contract are undisclosed, but King is keen to stress that this is not just a quick hit publicity stunt. 'We'll be running a campaign in the build up to the Games,' he says. 'Hopefully, he'll train well, run fast and then we'll see what happens from there.'

As for Ellington being 'the face' of the brand, King is wary. You always want your brand to stand apart from any one ambassador or celebrity, he says. 'After all, remember what happened to Gilette with Tiger Woods...'

Find this article useful?

Get more great articles like this in your inbox every lunchtime

C-Suite parents share working at home tips

For many people, the home office is now also a home school.

How to manage remote teams (without becoming a Zoom pest)

Briefing: Former Waitrose boss Mark Price says managers will need to think about how they’re...

Could coronavirus lead to gender equality?

Opinion: Enforced home-working and home-schooling could change the lives of working women, and the business...

Mike Ashley: Does it matter if the public hates you right now?

The Sports Direct founder’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic has drawn criticism, but in the...

4 films to keep you sane during the coronavirus lockdown

Cirrus CEO Simon Hayward shares some choices to put things in perspective.

Pandemic ends public love affair with Richard Branson et al

Opinion: The larger-than-life corporate mavericks who rose to prominence in the 80s and 90s suddenly...