|December 11, 2009|
|PR Bonanza Awaits First Sponsor to Drop Tiger|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|Who is going to be the first corporate sponsor to dump the sexually tinged Tiger? Terrific PR awaits the company that does so. |
It is true that Woods is guilty of no crime. He has admitted "transgressions" and not being "true to my values and the behavior my family deserves." That should be good enough to pull the plug.
Tiger hasn't refuted any of his purported sex partners. He has chosen to go into hiding. Woods' Dec. 2 comment on "current events" is now buried on his website.
Tiger is moving on. The site features a letter of congratulations from Tiger to those involved with his Chevron World Challenge. Tiger's sponsors similarly should move on. At the very least, sponsors would score PR points by suspending their connection with the golfer until Tiger makes amends or arranges an accommodation with his family, which apparently is doing its own moving -- to Sweden.
What will it take for a sponsor to do the right thing? How about nude pictures of Woods? Playgirl claims it has such photos and will publish them once they confirm that they are authentic. The magazineís legal team currently has the flicks under close scrutiny.
Besides Playgirl's massive PR coup connected with publishing Tiger in the buff shots, Woods has been linked to porn stars like Holly Sampson, star of "OMG Stop Tickling Me" and "House of the Naked Captives." Porn film house Vivid Entertainment is offering a $1M payday for any of Tiger's girls to star in a movie. Tentative name: "Riding the Tiger."
The nude photos, porn romps and impending movie donít seem to bother sponsors Nike, AT&T, Accenture, NetJets, Tag Heuer, Electronic Arts and TLC Vision, which begs the question: what are they thinking?
The corporate worm, however, seems to be turning. PepsiCo is dropping Gatorade Tiger Focus apparently because the golfer was about the only person still drinking it. Sales are down about 35 percent this year.
PepsiCo claims the decision was made months ago, but only now is public after the parade of women alleging to have sex with Tiger.
Procter & Gambleís Gillette unit says that it hasn't made any changes in its marketing strategy, though its ad featuring Woods last ran Nov. 29, two days after his 2 a.m. smack-up that led to his reputational downfall.
A spokesperson told the Wall Street Journal he isn't sure when the ad is slated to appear again. One wonders if the strait-laced gang at P&G's Cincinnati headquarters are secret fans of the "House of the Naked Captives."
Corporate sponsors made Tiger a very rich man. They generated 90 percent of his $1B earnings. He owed them. It is assumed that Woods' contracts required him to act as a model citizen.
The companies got burned and look downright foolish by staying with the tainted Tiger.
(Image via ClevelandLeader)
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