Now that the shock and awe have worn off this story, let’s have a look at the Tiger Woods brand. He was a living, global luxury brand. He may still be, but it will take time to recover the shine. Just a short a time ago, he was one of the most favorably viewed ad spokesmen of all-time with negatives at a saintly 8 percent, according to a USA Today pool. Now his negatives have skyrocketed to 57 percent.
There was suspicion that prescription drugs and/or alcohol may have been factors in Mr. Wood’s slow-motion crash. We also have several women who say they had sex with him while he was married. A number of commentators say that Tiger’s off the course activities are nobody’s business, but his and his wife’s. Tell that to Accenture, which erased all tracks of Tiger from its promotional material, after spending $50 million on tying its brand to his.
Tiger’s squeaky-clean image made millions from sponsorships. So it is the media’s business and ours as consumers that he should be called out for his actions. Personally, I don’t begrudge him the celeb lifestyle, but he can’t cry about Accenture or any other corporation canceling his sponsorships. He was sold as Mr. Clean Sportsman for mega-bucks and so he is fair game for the media hounds of hell to pursue.
In contrast, let’s look at Wilt Chamberlain, one of the most dominant professional basketball players ever. Wilt could have done well — even in the segregated 60s –he had just manicured his reputation. He didn’t. He was an avowed and unapologetic bachelor. He made his money playing basketball and the occasional Brut cologne ad. Pick your poison: Be satisfied with what you make in sports, or build your brand and rake in the dough. But no whining if the brand you built is found to be nothing but fiction.
Tiger is undergoing treatment at a celeb clinic. This is the first step that many wayward stars have taken. Regardless of whether it is sincere, this step takes the star out of the public view for a while. After this, Tiger needs to go back to what made him famous in the first place: golf – and winning tournaments. The public won’t forget, but when the spotlight again focuses on him, he will remind of us what we always like about him.