Don't Put a Tiger in Your Tank

As I saw Tiger Woods in an online ad for Accenture the other day, I couldn't help but think "Why the hell didn't they pull that as soon as they heard the news?" 
From AdAge:

The squeaky clean image of golf's greatest player and the sports world's most lucrative endorser took a hit over Thanksgiving weekend -- no pun intended. Mr. Woods was involved in a single-car accident, but the timing, the circumstances, the aftermath and the ever-churning rumor mill quite possibly have endangered his own brand and his estimated nine-figure annual endorsement deals with several blue-chip companies.
"I think this incident ultimately will have a negative effect on the Tiger Woods brand," said sports marketing expert Robert Tuchman, exec VP of New York-based sports and entertainment marketing company Premiere Global Sports. "Regardless of the facts, there are brand marketers who might pass at looking at him now. I think as this situation unfolds and how he handles himself will determine the long-term effects to his image. The best thing he can do is be completely honest and open about the situation and what took place."
This has always been one of the main problems with celebrity endorsements: implosion of the person results in a massive squandering of resources by the marketer. The winds change, the boat lists, and in an instant you find your brand is lashed to the anchor of a sinking ship. No idea where that nautical nonsense came from, but you get the point: All eggs + one celebrity basket = unacceptable risk. 
Plus, as David Ogilvy pointed out long ago, the customers tend to remember the celebrity, but not your product. Or in this case, you probably hope they forget your product was endorsed by that particular celebrity. Either way, the marketer has spent a huge sum and gotten very little in return.


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