The power, prestige and impact of retired athletes

While there was talk of legendary driver Michael Schumacher returning to F1 action this year, he is officially retired, having had one of the most impressive careers of any athlete in the past 50 years. Though retired, his popularity continues, and he and his corporate sponsors are leveraging that to further promote the message of drinking responsibly to a worldwide audience.

The influence of retired athletes should not be underestimated and we will hopefully see more individual athletes and groups of such athletes, e.g. league-affiliated retired players associations, being sought after for their ability to connect with various audiences.  Schumacher’s relationship with Bacardi is a great example of this.  So is Bacardi’s use of an entertaining video and earlier this year, giving 30 consumers an opportunity to drive with Michael. These are efforts that can be emulated.

Having these athlete “alumni” engaged offers a host of benefits to them and allows companies, non-profits, and others to work with those who are a bit older and may have a more pronounced appreciation for the issues that are affecting society. With age comes perspective. At least it should.

You can read the full press release at, with an excerpt below.


BACARDI LIMITED AND MICHAEL SCHUMACHER RENEW SOCIAL RESPONSIBILITY AMBASSADOR PARTNERSHIP;  Get Involved! Spread the message with the latest “Champions Drink Responsibly” video viral

Hamilton, Bermuda, November 4, 2009 – Bacardi Limited, the largest privately held spirits company in the world, and seven-time Formula OneTM world champion Michael Schumacher, today announced the renewal of their very successful partnership to promote the “Champions Drink Responsibly” campaign internationally. Michael also will continue as the Bacardi Limited Global Social Responsibility Ambassador through to 2011, helping to spread the message ‘Drinking and Driving Don’t Mix.’ Bacardi Limited and Schumacher first teamed up in the area of social responsibility in 2008 and this award-winning campaign has grown and reached more than 80 million people around the world.

“I’m delighted to be continuing my work with Bacardi Limited to help spread the message to the public that ‘Drinking and Driving Don’t Mix’ and letting them know about the responsible options of using public transportation, taking a taxi, designating a driver, or drinking non-alcoholic cocktails if they must drive. This is a cause I really believe in and I look forward to building on the success of the award-winning “Champions Drink Responsibly” campaign. Promoting the message here in China at the Race of Champions is just one example of the campaign’s commitment to spreading these messages worldwide,” said Michael Schumacher.

The continuation of the partnership was announced today in Beijing, where Michael was attending the Race of Champions. Bacardi Limited is an Official Partner of the Race of Champions.

As part of the announcement, Bacardi Limited launched a new viral video starring Schumacher. The video was premiered during the Race of Champions and watched by more than 70,000 spectators in the Beijing Bird’s Nest Stadium. In the video, to illustrate the campaign message of ‘Drinking and Driving Don’t Mix,’ Schumacher drives world famous mixologist Salvatore Calabrese at full throttle around a racetrack while Salvatore is trying to mix a Duo Maestro cocktail with a very messy and unsuccessful result. Visit or log on to the “Champions Drink Responsibly” channel on YouTube to see more.

(The release continues at

Here is the new video with Michael and Salvatore.