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We know what it takes to be a Tiger. Yeah?

We know it too

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?

EA sports support Tiger

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.

Tiger woods Cadillac Escalade crash

Funny thing was he had an accident in GMs Cadillac Escalade, the brand that he endorsed earlier. As if GM had lesser woes already.

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Save the Tiger

There is something about Tiger Woods. It is the same thing that Barack Obama has too. It transcends money and fame. It transcends the power they confer to whatever they associate their name to.
They connect. No matter how much they earn in a year and if it is more than what all your earlier generations may have earnt till now, still you have a feeling that they are like you only. I don’t know if its got something to do with the brown skin but I get more motivated by the stories of the woods, the obamas, the Williams and so on. They connect because they represent a much larger minority voice. The voice of the underdog.
For tiger woods it had reached a point from which he could not do anything wrong in his career or more so with his brand. Tiger woods stood for something. It stood for honesty, straightforwardness, humility, reliability and other synonyms. Tiger woods was much more than a perfect golf swing. People need not understand the sport to marvel at the iconic legend. Even if you did not know what a birdie, bogie or a bunker is. You did not know how he was playing but you just knew that he was always trying his best. You just knew that he could not do anything wrong.
So what went wrong with woods? All I knew was there was an accident and after that the press slaughtered his image with juicy rumours of his mistresses. An image bomb as similar and as big as bill Clinton affair. And there is something that tiger could very well learn from that scandal. Accept the mistake and move on. Public memory is, as always, short. There is no denying the fact that the damage has been done but the damage control to the brand tiger woods has been really off course. It is surprising to see how badly celebrities get managed sometimes. They bask in all the glory and are willing to talk and write books on how they made it to that level but when something nasty hits them they run without caring for their shadows. There are reports of him quitting golf and trying to revive their marriage. GREAT. But the sad part of being so public and having been so public in the past is that, it is exactly what the public expects you to be now. Be public.
Again we learn from this that celebrity endorsements should always been looked at extremely critically. Because you can not control their events but they can control yours. And that is not a great leverage for your brand. Ask Accenture.

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