Not that it was hard to see this coming, but The Business That Is Tiger Woods is starting to lose a grip on its multinational corporate backers. In fact,
two of them have gone down! Can you guess who?
Gillette: Gone, baby, gone. They've got enough options to put their resources behind someone else, and now, we're gonna see who's about to follow suit with PR-friendly dismissals like this:
"As Tiger takes a break from the public eye, we will support his desire for privacy by limiting his role in our marketing programs," said Gillette, a division of Procter & Gamble.
Who does he have left?
Gatorade: The bug juice empire's been there, done that, we got nothin' to do with nothin approach is fairly clever. Maybe they knew something was going on?! Conspiracy. Chances are, probably not. Noted AdAge earlier this week:
As reported last month, we decided several months ago to discontinue Gatorade Tiger Focus, along with some other products to make room for our planned series of innovative products in 2010," the company said in a statement. Now, we're all for being skeptical, especially when it comes to massive companies with products to shill and reputations to protect. But as the company points out, this is old news.
Nike: Side-by-side, the sweatshop sticks with Tiger. "Tiger has been part of Nike for more than a decade. He is the best golfer in the world and one of the greatest athletes of his era. We look forward to his return to golf. He and his family have Nike's full support."
Tiger has vanished from their website. "Accenture spokesman Alex Pachetti didn't return calls seeking comment." Interestingly, Accenture's stock was downgraded by a firm earlier this week. Update: Looks like that was more than enough to do the job. Accenture announced the end of their Tiger Woods sponsorship today.
"After careful consideration and analysis, the company has determined that he is no longer the right representative for its advertising," Accenture said in a statement on Sunday...Of all Mr. Woods's sponsors, Accenture has the most at stake, marketing experts have said. Mr. Woods was the centerpiece of the company's ad campaigns, which included print, cable and TV advertising in 27 countries, as well as display ads in airports.
Yeah, and considering that small fact, nobody in their right mind would take stock in a company whose prime pitch-person was making a hasty, full-on retreat from the thing that made him one in the first place. Wonder how much that stock rating helped the decision-making process?
"We support Tiger's decision and our thoughts will be with him and his family," AT&T said in a statement. "We are presently evaluating our ongoing relationship with him."Tiger's statement yesterday will probably push them in the way of "dropped."
Tag Heuer: On ice, but following suit towards "dunzo." Tag's removed ads of Tiger from Australian stores—just as those Gillette ads started vanishing—and chalk their cooling of Woods-related press to coincidence...just like Gatorade.
EA Sports: Stickin' with Tiger, because they've got nobody better. Writes our man Owen Good at Kotaku:
EA Sports' latest guidance is this stand-by-your-man news release. It's got a major release coming up with Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online, a free-to-play browser-based product that's been in a closed beta already, with another coming up soon. And as said above, if Woods is so toxic that he can't rep a game, EA Sports would have no reasonable fallback.
Congress: Dunzo. Okay, so not technically a "corporation"—technically—or a "sponsorship," Tiger was going to be awarded a Congressional Gold Medal sponsored a California Democrat, Rep. Joe Baca. And then Baca dropped it. Ouch:
In a statement, Baca said, "In light of the recent developments surrounding Tiger Woods and his family, I will not pursue legislation awarding him the Congressional Gold Medal this session."
Where he's coming from, though, this is so clearly—as evidenced above—far less a matter of family values, and much more an issue of Tiger's potential contributions to the conglomerate brand economy. Like the many places he, uh, spread his seed, Tiger's opportunities to be one of Corporate America's perfectly functioning, healthy, and powerful performers are—uh, like his seed—drying up fast.