It’s interesting to watch how large corporate advertisers react to the Tiger Wood saga.
Nike chairman Phil Knight stands by Tiger Wood: "When his career is over, you’ll look back on these indiscretions as a minor blip, but the media is making a big deal out of it right now."
On the other hand, consulting firm Accenture has dropped Tiger Wood as spokesman. According to Accenture Sponsorship Update on Accenture corporate web site, "Given the circumstances of the last two weeks, after careful consideration and analysis, the company has determined that he is no longer the right representative for its advertising. Accenture said that it wishes only the best for Tiger Woods and his family."
Then, there is the indecisive Tag Heuer who "will spend the next few weeks assessing its endorsement relationship with golfer Tiger Woods".
I think the Tiger Wood saga is going to become a classic case study in PR crisis management.
I tend to like Nike’s approach. I think American public and the world are forgiving. From Kobe Bryant to Michael Vick, plenty of super star athletes were given a second chance. Tiger Wood is still the best golfer in the world. As long as he continues to play at the highest level, and show genuine remorse to the public, he will be OK.
I also understand Accenture’s stance. Accenture is a professional service firm. It has a more traditional and conservative corporate culture. It needs to stay away from controversies. Given its line of business and corporate culture, I think Accenture also did the right thing.
I didn’t like the way Tag Heuer reacted. I think they’re not sure how to react, so they want to buy some time to wait and see how the scandal will evolve in the next two weeks. It’s perfectly reasonable for them to wait for a couple more weeks, but I don’t understand why they’re making a public statement about their wait-and-see strategy. It shows that they’re confused and indecisive.
Put yourself into the shoes of an advertising executive, what would you do if your firm has a sponsorship with Tiger Wood?