Tiger Woods has built a reputation on being an honest, clean cut elite athlete who is the world’s best golf player. 

With his perfectly whitened teeth, glossy tabloid smile and crisp laundered clothing with Nike’s brand plastered on every visible spot imaginable – Tiger Woods has been an absolute marketing dream.

The question is did brand Tiger go as far as it could possibly go with its clean cut, healthy living and winning combination?

Whilst the latest reports have sponsors exiting in droves, key sponsor, Nike, is sticking with their sporting prodigy as let’s face it, who else is going to be a billion dollar sports superstar in the near future?

Gatorade, Gillette and Accenture have stated publicly that they are withdrawing their sponsorship agreements with the golfing great. Their names have been in the papers more times due to this scandal then they probably have ever been published. You would have to be sleeping under a rock not to be able to quote Gatorade, Gillette and Accenture as sponsors of Tiger Woods.

Nike – and smartly so in my opinion – is staying put and as a brand that is the best known for its association with Tiger Woods and Michael Jordan, I think they are onto something. I don’t think in all honesty that this scandal is going to effect Nike’s sales performance and will in fact, probably bring a new breed of buyer to the table.

You see I, like many others, think that Tiger Woods is one of the greatest athletes of all time, but to be brutally honest – he is boring. Boring with a capital “B”. His cheesy smile, groomed look and picture perfect family does absolutely nothing for me. I am a golfer (many say ‘hack’) and I would never have thought to buy a Nike branded golf item whether it was clothing or clubs. Now, in light of the latest in Tiger publicity, it certainly is a big consideration. Already, Nike for golf has become sexier, more interesting and comes with a whole new context.

Simply, it has edge and I need all the edge I can get on the course.

It is assumed that the publicity will blow over once the public appetite for stories about Tiger dies down and time heals all wounds – look at Kate Moss and Greg Norman. Who would have thought that Kate Moss would earn triple what she did pre cocaine drama and through a media storm that no-one thought she would ever recover from? Remember how many sponsors foolishly dropped Kate Moss only to find other companies pick her up just as quickly and be given the publicity dream run, that money just can’t buy. Tiger just needs to get out there and do what he does best and that’s win tournaments. I am sure he has a few more in him.

Sure the Tiger jokes will keep on coming and might be around for some time, and of course the web is not so forgiving, as if you google Tiger, there will always be a reminder of how many women that have had their 5 minutes of fame by declaring that they are his mistress. With more than 22 million articles indexed against Tiger Woods accident alone, it’s pretty hard to ignore.

My opinion is that sponsors unless you are a church organization or profess to be ‘Mother Theresa’ and uphold good christen values, then Tiger Woods is a marketing dream.

Sure he might lose the odd female follower, but how many women out there think that if Jamie Jungers can score Tiger, so can they. And men, let’s face it, whether they are into playing the field or not, there is a whole new respect for a man that has more than 12 women on the go who all profess to his out of control sexual appetite.

Sponsors, this is a branding dream. Since when does a shaver need to be moral – or a sports drink for that matter?


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Mellissah Smith

Mellissah Smith is a marketing expert with more than 20 years experience. Having founded and built two successful marketing companies internationally, she is well recognized as a industry thought leader and innovator. Mellissah started her career working with technology and professional services firms, primarily in marketing, public relations and investor relations, positioning a number of successful companies to list on the various Stock Exchanges around the world. She is a writer, technology developer and entrepreneur who shares her thoughts and experiences through blogs and written articles published in various media outlets. Brag sheet: #2 marketer to follow on Twitter (2003), Top 150 Marketers to Follow (2015), Top 10 innovative marketers (2014), 60K+ followers on Twitter with 97% authentic.

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