Friday, June 20, 2008


For those of you reading that are not golf fans (or even know who Tiger Woods is), let me just simply explain that he is one of the most influential and incredible sports figures today. Last weekend and in a playoff on Monday with Rocco Mediate Tiger showed us again why he one of the most amazing talents in sports. Not only was he coming off of knee surgery, but during the 5 day/91 holes of golf he played he reinjured his knee and created two stress fractures in his leg. Oh, by the way, he won his 14th major championship even while going through these physical struggles. If that's not determination and perseverance I don't know what is. Unfortunately, these injuries now are season ending for Tiger as he will be having reconstructive knee surgery and will miss the British Open, PGA Championship, & Ryder Cup, in addition to other tournaments he scheduled to play in.

That all being said, I think there is a lesson to be learned from this icon of sports as I'd like to make this story relevant to marketing of course. The question I ask is, "When do perseverance and determination actually hurt your brand?" Due to the season ending injury that perseverance caused in this situation I think, Nike, Gatorade, Buick, Accenture, EA Sports, Gillette, and the PGA Tour are going to lose out a bit. The "Tiger" brand will still be strong and make a come back, but without his face appearing in highlights on ESPN how will this effect these brands that rely on his image in more than just advertisements. As the number 1 player in the world Tiger not only helps increase attendance at tournaments, but also helps to increase television viewers.

With no Tiger for at least 6 months it will be interesting to see if these advertisers and sponsors see an impact on their business. This could be a true marketing analyst's dream. Take away your premium spokesperson for 6 months and see how it impacts sales. Think of the millions of dollars each one of these companies spends to have Tiger help promote their products. I see two scenarios. 1. There is little to no impact at all because Tiger is such a recognizable icon that even a picture or advertisement continues to help these brands. or 2. Consumers begin to lose the connection they have with Tiger and the brands he represents and these brands suffer for at least 6 months. I'd like to see what these companies plan to do over the next 6 months to help sustain their brand recognition with Tiger. If I were them I would be afraid that he will somewhat disappear during this period, and the excitement that surrounds his golf play will not help to support these brands the way it does when he is out amazing us with his greatness.

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