Tiger Woods sure is having a really bad time of late.
Of course, everyone now knows the trouble he’s had with his wife because of his serial infidelity — and his wife has redefined the use of a golf club.
But more than the bump on the head and the humiliation that followed suit, Tiger Woods’ reputation has been tarnished and this is affecting his bottomline. How? His endorsements are now jeopardized.
Companies hire celebrities and sports superstars to hawk their products because they want to ride on these people’s reputation and image. The better the image, the better the effect of the endorsements. Tiger’s troubles are not helping his reputation at all and the companies that hired him are realizing that they should cut their losses as soon as a possible. Accenture has already announced that they have ended their relationship with the superstar golfer. Gillette has also released a statement that they have suspended his endorsement deal.
Woods’ troubles means lost revenues for him and maybe, just maybe, companies will also realize that putting their reputations at stake by hiring people is not really a good strategy.
Golf champion Tiger Woods no longer represents global consulting and technology services firm Accenture, as of December 13. Accenture is the first of Woods’ corporate sponsors to pull out of the relationship completely. A day earlier, Gillette announced a suspension of Woods’ marketing appearances for an unspecified period.
For anyone missing two weeks of headlines, here’s a recap. Golf champion Woods crashed his car near his Florida home after what appeared to be a major league (oops, wrong sport) fight with his wife over alleged infidelities. At first Woods denied any marital misconduct, using the first line of defense of many public figures caught in a sand trap, which was to lie about it. Then other women surfaced with firm evidence of Woods’ affairs, for a total of 13, and Woods told the world that he had made mistakes. On December 11, he announced he is taking a mega-mulligan — a leave of absence from golf to repair his marriage.
Though Accenture doesn’t sell anything to consumers, it put itself in the public eye with its “Go ahead, be a Tiger” ad campaign. Working for Accenture since 2004, Woods seemed a plausible long-term choice. His consistently stellar athletic achievements and mixed racial heritage symbolize the best of a global economy. Now his departure could mark a seismic shift in corporate branding and marketing approaches.