Yelling "Tiger" in a Crowded Theater

The sponsors are stampeding for the exits. The agency execs are fleeing from their private boxes, glasses of scotch left behind by the frenzied departures.

From today's New York Times:
Accenture is the first of Mr. Woods’s many sponsors to withdraw its support completely. Gillette has said that it would remove its Woods-related advertising for now and other sponsors, like AT&TPepsiCo and Nike, have said they will wait to see when and how Mr. Woods returns to golf before making any permanent decisions. EA Sports, which has a line of best-selling Tiger Woods video games, is also standing by the golf star.
In response to Accenture’s announcement, Mark Steinberg, Mr. Woods’s agent, said, “We are disappointed but respect their decision.”
Accenture’s decision is another example of how risky it can be for corporations to base their marketing efforts on individual celebrities in an age when blogs, camera phones and the digital footprint left by the celebrities themselves can quickly expose their foibles to the world.

It's not just today's world of blogs, camera phones, etc., it's an inherent risk: As I noted in a previous post, celebrities are human beings, ones that are under an extraordinary amount of pressure, so it's never a surprise when they self-destruct.

Couldn't Accenture and the others have come up with campaigns that communicated their company's value without having to resort to celebrity endorsement? Of course they could have, but that would have meant that the executives of those corporations wouldn't have had the chance to meet the star they'd chosen to represent them.

The agencies who sold these corporations on these celebrities are lazy. The executives who bought the idea are irresponsible. They thought they could hire Tiger and then just sit back and watch the show. Too bad the film wasn't at all what the trailer promised.


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