|December 19, 2009|
|Accenture Does Right Thing; Gillette Has Work to Do|
|By Kevin McCauley|
|Accenture comes out smelling like a rose in the Tiger Woods episode with its clear-cut decision to sever ties with the embattled golfer. |
The management consulting giant squashed its six-year relationship because Woods "is no longer the right representative for its advertising." Case closed.
That's a stronger statement from another big Tiger backer, Procter & Gamble's Gillette, that says it will "limit" Woods' participation because it respects his decision to "take a break from the public eye."
Gillette makes it sound as if Tiger is going on a sabbatical or a voyage of self-discovery. The consumer products company forgets that it is Woods' paymaster when it says it is paring back the golfer's role in its marketing because Gillette supports "his desire for privacy by limiting his role in our marketing programs." That's way too touchy-feely.
Accenture now must find a new corporate face. It had adopted Woods' concentration, drive and squeaky clean image as part of its corporate philosophy. The consultancy noted that "Woods' achievements on the golf course have been a powerful metaphor for business success” in its advertising."
Accenture became the personification of Woods. Its "We know what it takes to be a Tiger" posters adorned airports throughout the world, inspiring the company’s road warriors. Woods' fall from grace must be a tough pill for them to swallow.
The company promises to continue its "high performance business" strategy and "high performance delivered" positioning in the marketplace in 2010. You can bet Accenture will nix a celebrity or athlete to succeed Woods as its spokesperson.
Here is a recommendation to Gillette: since you are limiting the Tiger, how about shaving appearances of French soccer star, Thierry Henry. He outraged soccer lovers throughout the world by committing the ultimate sin: using your hands during a match.
Henry admitted to a handball on a game-tying goal in the World Cup soccer qualifying match last month between France and Ireland. The ref missed the call. A video of Henry's handball is all over the Internet. Reaction to Henry's offense reached the highest level of Ireland’s government. Prime Minister Brian Cowen called for a rematch, which was rejected by soccer's ruling party, FIFA. Cowen did get a small consolation in the form of an apology from French President Sarkozy.
Woods and Thierry are two self-admitted cheats. How does that play with Gillette's tagline: "The best a man can get?"
Not too well.
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