SBD/March 19, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Woods, Vonn Formally Announce Relationship, But Why Was UA Logo Covered In Pics?

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Woods, Vonn hope to retain privacy about relationship despite releasing photos
Tiger Woods and Lindsey Vonn yesterday confirmed the rumors that they are dating and released several pictures of them together. ABC's Paula Faris said the best way to "dictate the story is to get in front of it," which is what Woods and Vonn did, and PR experts "say it may have been one of their best moves yet.” The relationship "comes at a career crossroads for both athletes,” as Woods is on the cusp of once again becoming the world's No. 1-ranked golfer and Vonn is sidelined with a knee injury. What was "not lost in their announcement ... is the endorsement potential." In the pictures, both are "prominently wearing gear of their respective sponsors” -- Woods wearing a white Nike polo and Vonn sporting Under Armour (“GMA,” ABC, 3/19). E! Network's Jason Kennedy said the couple made the announcement “because there are a lot of rumors out there, so do you want to be on the National Enquirer and these other magazines that may not get it accurate?” NBC's Natalie Morales said you can "control your message” this way. Kennedy: "They become their own publicists in a sense” (“Today,” NBC, 3/19). In N.Y., Bill Pennington writes Woods and Vonn "not only vault to the top of the list of sports couples in terms of lifetime professional achievements, but their relationship will also be a magnet for ceaseless news media attention just for its sizzle and startling inimitability." They "immediately stole the title of Golf's First Couple from top-ranked Rory McIlroy and his tennis star girlfriend, Caroline Wozniacki." It is a "match made for 'SportsCenter'" (N.Y. TIMES, 3/19). But CBS’ Norah O'Donnell wondered whether this was a “PR campaign right before The Masters” (“CBS This Morning,” CBS, 3/19).

BATTLE OF THE BRANDS: In Baltimore, Ryan Sharrow noted in the four pictures released of the couple, Woods is "sporting a Nike golf shirt and the company's iconic swoosh is much more visible than the hard to notice Under Armour logo on a zip-up jacket Vonn is wearing." It will be "interesting to see if ...Under Armour's marketing machine can get the interlocking 'UA' logo to be more recognizable in future photos" (BIZJOURNALS.com, 3/18). Syndicated radio host Dan Patrick said it was “no accident” that Woods' Nike swoosh was visible but Vonn’s UA logo was obscured. Patrick: “I’m going to say she’ll soon have Nike on her apparel. I think Tiger is probably doing what he did with Rory: Recruiting.” Patrick said the announcement from Woods “sounded like marketing love because he’s got his Nike swoosh prominently displayed." Vonn has Under Armour "on her shirt, but it’s not prominently displayed.” Patrick said Woods “already hand-delivered Rory McIlroy to Nike." Patrick: "I don’t know if he’s hand-delivering Lindsey Vonn to Nike as well, but all of a sudden the Under Armour logo is covered up by her hair” (“The Dan Patrick Show,” 3/19).
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