SBD/Issue 51/Sponsorships, Advertising & Marketing

Tiger Still Has Plenty Of Work To Restore Image, Rebuild Brand

Woods' Appeal Among Consumers Is On The
Same Level As Barry Bonds, Mel Gibson

Tiger Woods is "trying to turn the page on his troubles" that arose last November, and he "wants consumers and sponsors to give him a second chance," according to Ben Klayman of REUTERS. The latest Davie Brown Index shows Woods' appeal for consumers ranks 2,586th, "down from 96th pre-scandal." The current ranking "puts him in the company" of former MLBer Barry Bonds and actor Mel Gibson. Also, a Seton Hall Sports Poll released Thursday found that 40% of respondents "reacted unfavorably to Woods," while 39% viewed him favorably. Seton Hall Sports Poll Dir Rick Gentile said, "Forty percent unfavorable for Tiger clearly shows work to be done on his image." Klayman noted EA Sports "just rolled out a golf game on Facebook that does not carry Woods' name like their console video game." But company officials said that that "was planned and Tiger remains valuable to them." EA Sports Senior VP/Worldwide Development Andrew Wilson in an e-mail said, "The Tiger Woods brand will continue as the flagship of our award-winning golf franchise." In addition, Woods earlier this month indicated that "several Chinese companies were eyeing deals with him" (REUTERS, 11/19).

NEED TO SEE MORE: AD AGE's Rich Thomaselli noted PR experts believe that Woods is "probably not doing himself any favors by trying to get out in front of what is likely to be a deluge of 'one-year-ago-today' stories." Woods last week resurrected his dormant Twitter account, penned a column for Newsweek and gave a 30-minute interview to ESPN Radio's "Mike & Mike in the Morning." New Jersey-based PR firm Rosica CEO Chris Rosica said, "There is a time when he has to get back to being a communicator -- he can't hide forever -- but based on the fact that it's right around the anniversary, I don't think it's wise." Woods last week tweeted for the first time since June '09, and PR expert Doug Drotman said, "Twitter is a place he needs to be, but if you don't have a strong and provocative voice, you're just 'there,' and you're not going to be influential or taken seriously" (ADAGE.com, 11/19). The WALL STREET JOURNAL's John Paul Newport wrote under the subhead, "His Shows Of Contrition Will Never Fly; Why We Should Settle For Tweets -- And A Few Wins." Woods "ought to start tweeting more seriously." It is the "perfect medium for someone who says he wants to connect to his fans, and who likes maintaining complete control over what gets out." At presstime, Woods has 250,564 followers on Twitter (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 11/20). L.A. Times columnist Bill Plaschke said, "We want to see him like a human being. Everything seems orchestrated. … I think they want more of a John Daly off the cuff, more of a "here’s who I am' kind of thing” ("Around The Horn," ESPN, 11/19). In N.Y., Mike Lupica wrote, "Woods doesn't owe us any answers, by the way, about the accident or the porn girls and hostess girls, or what medication had him snoring in the street after the accident. But if you don't want to talk, don't give us a bunch of fake talk and platitudes" (N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 11/21).

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