Axelle Despiegelaere has taken the notion that everyone gets his or her 15 minutes of fame to a whole new level.
The 17-year-old Belgian fan became a viral sensation after she was photographed in the stands when Belgium faced South Korea in the World Cup, and she even signed a contract with French cosmetics company L'Oreal.
She also appeared in the following video for the company:
But she has since been released by the company amid some controversy, as Maria Tadeo of The Independent writes:
However, the French company has decided to cut ties with Ms Despiegelaere, insisting that she is not a spokesperson for the brand and her contract has been "completed". The announcement comes after a series of photographs on Facebook showed her posing next to a dead animal while holding a rifle on a hunting trip.
A L'Oreal spokesperson told The Independent: 'L’Oreal Professionnel Belgium collaborated with her on an ad hoc basis to produce a video for social media use in Belgium. The contract has now been completed.'
Aly Weisman of Business Insider passed along one of the hunting photos on Twitter:
It's certainly possible that Despiegelaere's contract with L'Oreal has been completed and that the company simply squeezed all 15 minutes of her fame for all it could before deciding to move on. With Belgium out of the tournament, the spotlight on Despiegelaere would have likely been turned elsewhere anyway.
It's also possible the company didn't think the picture of her hunting—or making jokes about her hunting Americans—aligned with its brand values and decided to sever the relationship. The company would be within its rights to make such a decision, even if many would feel it was a severe overreaction.
But it's certainly not the first time a fan in the stands for a soccer match has been used to promote a brand. Who could ever forget LaRissa Riquelme's partnership with Nokia after the Paraguayan fan became a viral sensation at the 2010 World Cup?
If there is one thing companies have grasped, it's that they call soccer the beautiful game for more than one reason.
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