This isn’t going to be a post on how badly Tiger Woods screwed up both his personal and professional lives, or how terrible his PR team is. What caught my eye was the story that broke this weekend on Accenture pulling their sponsorships away from him.
The question that came to my mind was- Are brands that align themselves SO much with a paid spokesperson doomed to fail?
Accenture paid Tiger an estimated $10-15 million per year, creating (now such mockable) ads that read “We know what it takes to be a Tiger.” With language and imagery like that, Accenture had no choice but to fire him.
I don’t blame Accenture (or Nike, Gatorade, Gillette, AT&T, Cadillac, Buick, etc.) for hiring him in the first place- he was the golden boy of the PGA, a huge success and someone who reflected the Accenture brand. But, if Tiger Woods of all people is having ‘transgressions’, who can brand managers trust? Are the days of the sole celebrity spokesperson over?
Brand managers need to think long and hard before aligning themselves so closely with celebrities, and do so knowing what the consequences of a DUI arrest, drug OD, interruption at the VMAs, or ‘transgressions’ will have on their company.