But now he might be going for a subway sandwich instead.
"McDonald's is Goliath, and we're David," said Tony Pace, chief marketing officer for the Subway Advertising Fund Trust. "Fortunately I have a pretty good slingshot."
According to Advertising Age:
"Subway prevailed, Mr. Carlisle said, because it offered "more of a partnership and less of an Olympic program," and also because its fast-growing presence and ambitions in Europe and the U.K. dovetail with Mr. Phelps' own ambitions to promote the sport of swimming in advance of the 2012 London games.
Also a factor, Mr. Carlisle said, was the Subway brand's more-healthful image. While Mr. Phelps could have "easily" done a deal with McDonald's that focused on its more-healthful offerings, Mr. Carlisle said, "there are differences between the brands [regarding perceptions of healthfulness], and they were taken into consideration."
Those considerations appear to have become more pronounced after Mr. Phelps was criticized following a major deal with Kellogg that put his face on Frosted Flakes boxes. (Wrote MarketWatch: "Suddenly a newly minted celebrity had betrayed America's impressionable and overweight kids, who will doubtless now line up at the local Wal-Mart to buy pallet-loads of sugary non-fibrous crud.") Mr. Phelps may have been reluctant to take on the similar barrage that inevitably would have accompanied any McDonald's deal, though Mr. Carlisle said that was not"