In a sequence somehow unthinkable for many, Usain Bolt was beaten - not once, but twice – both times by Yohan Blake.

Those attempting to downplay the shocker as just a coincidental anomaly may be correct from a purely athletic standpoint(time will tell) but are missing the bigger picture – the brand picture. Bolt’s reported US20m earnings last year rest primarily on the confidence vested in him by major brands, Jamaican and otherwise. Whilst the double loss is certainly not a disaster on the scale of, say Krakatoa, or the Indonesian Tsunami of 2005, it represents for brand owners an ominous rumbling that needs closer observation.

Telecoms provider Digicel was surely in search of a boost to coincide with their new 4G mobile offering. The campaign, conceived and finalised before the Trials even began, of course, included a two-city spectacle and fireworks on the Waterfront (speaking of which, this writer notes the absence of sports in the ongoing “Downtown Renaissance” but more on that soon). It surely wouldn’t have hurt for Bolt to  bring a few fireworks of his own.

Similarly, brand execs at Gatorade, a part of the PepsiCo group portfolio, would surely have preferred that their brand ambassador oblige as winner at the premier Jamaican athletics event. The event was no doubt followed by their overseas partners, even as the US Track & Field trials offered drama aplenty up in the Pacific Northwest. Further afield, in Germany and Switzerland, athletic gear makers Puma and high-end watchmakers Hublot were also assuredly keenly seeking updates. Hublot, in particular, fresh off a triumph in the NBA Finals via the Miami Heat’s Dwayne Wade of the Miami Heat, would have loved more good news.

Meanwhile “Team Beast” (forgive the coinage), including LIME, WATA and Key Motors, has run its expected slate of congratulatory ads, all striking the correct magnanimous note. But you can be sure the private and even not-so-private reactions were, shall we say, a little less inhibited.

The bottom line is, it’s the bottom line that counts. When brand ambassadors win, brands get a boost. Its that simple. An interesting clip on a recent post-Trials sportscast showed the two athletes together from an earlier, less competitive setting.  Whilst Bolt displayed the “showboat shuffle” uncharacteristically missing from his Trials appearances, Blake was doing mock karate moves with his hands.

So come August 6 especially, will it be the brands behind Team Bolt or those moving with “The Beast” that emerge from the battle with the greater bragging rights?