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SBD/Issue 64/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing
Tiger On Hiatus: Accenture Becomes First Sponsor To Drop Woods
Published December 14, 2009
|Accenture Says Woods Is No Longer The
Right Representative For Its Advertising
AN EASIER CALL THAN FOR OTHER COMPANIES: CNBC.com's Darren Rovell wrote Accenture's decision to drop Woods was "relatively easier" than it is for other companies because the relationship "involved a service instead of a product." The "direct revenue Woods brought to the consulting company wasn't as easily calculated as golf clubs, a video game or a sports drink" (CNBC.com, 12/14). NBC's "Nightly News" began its broadcast last night with news of the Woods-Accenture split, and Rovell said the company "relied on Tiger being as much a perfect man as it did a perfect golfer. That's where their advertising was going." Rovell: "Them coming out with a statement means a lot. It's not like they're going to go into airports, where their advertising was, and just take it down quietly and hope that you don't notice. They're telling you that they don't want to be associated with him. That is a big deal" ("Nightly News," NBC, 12/13).
TOO CLOSELY TIED NOT TO DROP TIGER: TV WEEK's Chuck Ross writes given the "oneness between Accenture and Woods, the company had no choice but to cut all ties with him." The Woods-Accenture partnership was the "perfect melding of pitchman to how a company wanted to communicate its image." Woods was a "metaphor for Accenture, and a large part of this iconic campaign has been to portray Woods' great judgment as being the sauce that makes Woods so special and, by association, what makes Accenture so special." Ross: "In a real and material way, Woods has let down the people at Accenture, who not only paid him a lot of money, but who made a deep brand association with him in the belief that he was [the] person he claimed to be and who they -- and we -- thought he was" (TVWEEK.com, 12/14).
THE TIP OF THE ICEBERG? With Accenture's announcement and Gillette planning to scale back ads featuring Woods, Global Sports Exec VP Robert Tuchman predicted that "more sponsors will 'jump ship' this week." Tuchman: "There just comes a breaking point. He had this wholesome brand image. That's gone forever" (USA TODAY, 12/14). Rovell: "This is the first kind of blow to Brand Tiger in terms of the business world" ("Today," NBC, 12/14). In DC, Tim Lemke noted the loss of Accenture "suggests that Woods has lost his luster in at least one section of the corporate world." Meanwhile, ads featuring Woods "have been scarce in recent days, but it's hard to know the reasons why, as he never had much of a presence on TV this time of year" (WASHINGTONTIMES.com, 12/13).