Accenture has become the first company to quit working with Tiger Woods following allegations about his private life. The company, which has worked with Woods for six years, said: “Accenture and Tiger Woods have had a very successful sponsorship arrangement and his achievements on the golf course have been a powerful metaphor for business success in Accenture’s advertising. However, given the circumstances of the last two weeks, after careful consideration and analysis, the company has determined that he is no longer the right representative for its advertising.”
Initially, many of Woods’ sponsors said they would stand by him. But as the story of his extra-marital affairs has unfolded it has become tougher for them to make a call.
The argument in favour of dropping Woods is a) that he is no longer an appropriate spokesperson for family-oriented brands and b) that his decision to take a break from the game will impact on media exposure. The argument in favour of staying loyal is a) that it can reflect well on a brand to stick with stars through troubled times and b) there will be a halo effect on the brand partner if Woods bounces back in a year or two’s time. If he does manage to come through this personal crisis, there is massive potential for brands to lock on to the Tiger Woods redemption story.
Brands assessing their options include AT&T, Gatorade, Gillette, Electronic Arts and Tag Heuer. Nike however is going nowhere – issuing a company statement to the effect that Tiger Woods and his family “have Nike’s full support”.