Dec
13
2009
The Opportunity to Drop Tiger Is Obvious
By Stephanie Wei under General

Two days ago, Accenture pulled their Tiger-centric ad campaigns from their home page and implied they would do the same with the hundreds of posters plastered in airports. Hours later Tiger (rather, his handlers) posted a statement announcing his “indefinite” leave from golf. And now, the company is the first to officially drop its Tiger sponsorship altogether, saying he is “no longer the right representative” after the “circumstances of the last two weeks.”

I was actually a big fan of these ads — so much that I even took a photo of this billboard at Sea-Tac airport a few months ago.

Funny how the message behind the tag line can be interpreted completely differently at this point.

On Saturday Gillette declared, “As Tiger takes a break from the public eye, we will support his desire for privacy by limiting his role in our marketing programs.” Damon Jones, the company spokesman, added, “This is supporting his desire to step out of the public eye, and we’re going to support him by helping him to take a lower profile.” He didn’t comment on whether Gillette would resume including Tiger in their ads once he returns to competition.

Earlier in the week, Gatorade confirmed the discontinuation of the “Gatorade Tiger Focus” drink, but claimed it had nothing to do with the controversial revelations. TAG Heuer removed their in-store ads in Australia and suggested they would carry on with their de-Tiger-ing crusade globally — again they cited the same corporate jargon as Gatorade did.

AT&T, Tiger’s bag sponsor, and title sponsor of the tournament he hosts to benefit his charity, the AT&T National, has also stated, “We are presently evaluating our ongoing relationship.”

Fair enough. If Tiger wants to take a break, then his business partners — the only other people he owes a real apology to other than his family — will follow suit. It’d be interesting to see just how much money he’ll lose out of this whole mess between his lack of tour earnings, sponsorship losses, hush money, etc. About $100 million?