Ask Accenture said my last blog and they have spoken, albeit, silently. Search for Tiger Woods in their website and it comes as page not found (on Sunday). Accenture dropped the contract with Tiger Woods on Dec 13. According to me one of the best celebrity branding episodes draws curtains now. With due respect to the supporters of celebrity branding- My deep condolences. Gillette has dropped tiger from any further promotions. AT&T is evaluating further move to keep him or not. Gatorade had dropped him prior to the scandal. Nike and TagHeuer are still backing him or at least not reacting in an adverse manner. So from now on you won’t see Accenture telling that ‘We know what it takes to be a Tiger’. Instead its website now reads – Accenture wishes only the best for Tiger Woods and his family.
There was a time when he was called “The world’s most marketable athlete.” By many marketing research firms. Wonder what they would say now. This just makes me again and again reiterate my clichéd point that celebrity endorsements is a worthless risk that whose cost benefit analysis is clearly unfavorable. There are too many uncontrollable elements in there. And as a marketer, you don’t want too many uncontrollable factors.
But then what are the implications for Accenture? And why is EA and Nike still making sense by supporting him?
Let’s say there are two factors- the Hard (core) factors and the Soft (complementing) factors. In Tiger Woods case the hard factor is simply his Golf. Any brand he endorses strictly due to his game and nothing else, would have hired him because of his hard factors and any brand hiring him for his qualities like humility, personality and other qualitative aspects would hire him because of soft factors.
So it’s clear to see that Accenture was more of a soft factor decision as compared to EA (Tiger Woods golf game) and Nike (Nike golf). This means as for the hard factors, Tiger Woods still remains the one of the best in the history of golf, even if he becomes gay but as for his soft factors, he is not exactly the ideal idol anymore. So it makes sense for Accenture and Gillette to drop him. So according to this AT&T should be dropping Tiger as I don’t see any mutual benefit the association can deliver. Even TagHeuer makes sense as they and woods collaborated closely to develop the world’s first professional golf watch, released in April 2005. The lightweight, titanium-construction watch was designed to be worn while playing the game. However, TagHeuer won’t rush for a renewed contract for sure.
Funny thing was he had an accident in GMs Cadillac Escalade, the brand that he endorsed earlier. As if GM had lesser woes already.