The past few weeks the big story has been Tiger Woods and his many mistresses. What started out as a car accident story has now developed into a shocking tale of one of the biggest sports celebrities having many extramarital affairs with several women across the country. Now I’m not going to preach morality in this post but want to look at the marketing conversations around this story.
I’ve noticed that many people have commented on the story on Twitter, Facebook and other social networks. Men tend to state that message of who cares and how does this affect how I view his athletic ability and professional career. Women tend to say it’s terrible how anyone can do this to their family. But the real question is how many endorsement deals will Tiger lose?
To date Woods has not lost any endorsements. Of course this is partly due to the fact that these sponsorship deals are long term contracts. When young Tiger was coming up the ranks big brands jumped at the chance to sign him to long term deals and I’m sure they were extended once he began winning major PGA tournaments. No doubt that he is the Michael Jordan of golf, brining excitement and new audiences to the sport. Why else would Nike have signed him?
But as we see more of Woods character exposed though the scandal, these big brands will probably think twice about how much Tiger Woods promos they are going to launch in the next few month and into 2010. I mean if Woods cannot attend his own charity event, do sponsors want him on TV right now when his personal brand is disintegrating in the news.
So from a branding and marketing perspective I wonder how brands will approach the next superstar in any sport. Will there be a “cad” clause stating that if you have a sham marriage with girlfriends stashed around the country that they can drop you? Will their competitors gobble up the dropped athlete/celebrity to gain awareness?
The other interesting marketing question is will we as consumers be willing to spend the extra dollars for a premium brand that sponsors Tiger Woods? Does purchasing that brand make me a better golfer or other type of athlete? At a time when people are cutting back due to the recession are we happy that millionaire celebrities are behaving poorly?