Tiger Woods’ tainted image still worth millions to sponsors

The Accenture campaign features Woods about to extricate himself from trouble with the line: “It’s what you do next that counts.” The problem for Accenture is that Woods is now in deep trouble and he is doing absolutely nothing.
Tiger Woods has become a brand with more than 10 high-end sponsors and none will be happy that their poster boy is not living up to his image. Sponsors love golf because it is clean cut. It is the one sport in which cheating is looked at with moral repugnance. So how do they feel now that the world is asking if Woods has cheated?

For now the sponsors are sticking with him. The men of swoosh issued a statement that read: “Tiger and his family have Nike’s full support. We respect Tiger’s request for privacy and our thoughts are with Tiger and his family at this time.” Do Nike think that there has been a death in the family? That sombre tone which makes out Woods to be some sort of victim will be offensive to some. But what do Nike care, they’ve got a multi-million dollar investment to protect.
Gatorade, who are running a “Woods of Wisdom” campaign, said: “Our partnership with Tiger continues. We wish Tiger well as he recovers and look forward to seeing him back on the course soon.”
Tag Heuer, a company that cites Woods’s “character” as making him “a natural partner for the brand”, even ran a Woods advertisement in Monday’s USA Today that asked: “What Are You Made Of?” That’s not really the question right now. The question is: “What is Tiger made of?”
Some would say that Woods is not made of much after ducking his own tournament this week. Superficially, it looks a craven move, but we cannot know the subtext. For all we know his wife, Elin Nordegren, gave him an ultimatum not to go.
But it would be good if Woods offered some form of refund to all the punters who have bought tickets in the expectation of seeing him play. But don’t hold your breath. Woods is famously fond of money and is willing to do sponsorship deals with all sorts of companies.

London Telegraph
12/2/9