December 09, 2009
Tired of the Tiger Woods story? Many are; it's dominating the news, the tabloids and certain allegedly golf-oriented websites. However, take heart -- there's a place where you won't find any Tiger Woods ... and it's not where you'd expect.
Bloomberg's Brett Pulley and Michael Buteau did a little digging into Nielsen's television records, and found an interesting statistic: advertisements featuring Tiger Woods have completely vanished from prime-time television since Woods' wreck.
Nielsen officials told Bloomberg that 15 different advertisements featuring Woods have appeared in prime time since June. The last one was a Gillette spot that aired Nov. 29, according to Bloomberg.
Prior to Woods' troubles, he was a phenomenally popular and easily recognizable celebrity; Bloomberg notes that 86 percent of U.S. consumers over the age of 6 recognized Woods. The vast majority of his $110 million in annual earnings comes from endorsements. So, yeah, there's a lot at stake here, not just for Woods but for entire companies banking on his image.
The lack of Woods ads isn't entirely surprising; with the golf season over, there's no need to pitch Woods' golf connections, and EA Sports doesn't have a new Tiger Woods game on the horizon. So what we're left with is ads that promote the mystique of Tiger Woods -- cool under pressure, domination, excellence beyond compare. You can imagine what the reaction would be should any of those kinds of ads hit the airwaves right about now.
Still, Tiger's many endorsement deals trade heavily -- even primarily -- on his image, and that image has taken battleship-hull-busting hits in the last two weeks. Already, one sponsor -- the Pac-10 -- has yanked a Woods-involved ad specifically because of the current problems. Are there more to follow?
When Tiger does return to the airwaves -- and eventually, he will -- it's likely to be in a very different context than before. Let's run down some of the most famous Tiger-based ad campaigns, and consider how they may or may not hold up in light of current events.
Nike: "I am Tiger Woods." The classic slogan, and one which I don't foresee many people repeating any time soon.
Accenture: "Go on. Be a Tiger." Considering the havoc this story has wreaked on Tiger and his family, I don't think there's anybody who wants to be a Tiger these days.
Tag Heuer watches: "What are you made of?" Probably the least problematic of the slogans, but any kind of speculation of what goes on inside Tiger's head is now pretty much out.
Gillette: "The best a man can get." Let's not be too snarky here, and just say that every man ought to think that "the best he can get" is his wife, if he knows what's good for him.
NetJets: No tag line, but considering the globetrotting allegations getting leveled against Woods, there's plenty of room for interpretation. Then again, if you've got a jet for your personal use, you're probably not overly concerned with Tiger's image.
Gatorade Tiger: "Is it in you?" I probably don't need to tell you why this won't work any more, do I?
So, unfortunately for Tiger fans, it looks like ads that invite you to be like Mr. Woods are dead and gone. I'd imagine that ads featuring Tiger aren't going to have any tag lines for the foreseeable future. Which means that whimsical, goofy ads like this one are also probably gone:
Adiós, commercial Tiger. It was a good ride.
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