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Should Accenture have retained Woods?

Reading about Accenture dropping Woods, I went back to look at the campaign and saw that it resonated more than ever with the situation that Woods is in than just using him as a celebrity.

Some changes in copy and it could well be an even more powerful campaign.

Here are some of the ads from the campaign as a reminder.

What should Tiger do?

December 14, 2009 4 comments

There’s been so much media hype around Tiger and his activities this last two weeks that even Obama’s Nobel Prize ceremony barely made it to the news.

Cutting through all the noise there seems to be unanimous agreement that his brand value is tarnished and clients are running away. I have been following the articles to see what the world of marketing and advertising had to offer to rebuild the brand. And was rather surprised to hear nothing but ‘Get on to Oprah’.

That got me thinking..is that the only advice or suggestion we can provide to brand Tiger?

This is probably the kind of brand most agencies should be fighting over. A juicier crisis doesn’t exist. A star brand in free fall in a matter of 2 weeks.

So I decided to be bold and recommend a plan to see if it sparked some thoughts/discussions.

I have a 3 step plan to resurrect brand Tiger.

1. Cut ties

I think Tiger should separate from his wife. Why?

3 reasons :

a. Getting out takes a lot of the sting from these other women and their statements. The problems become less intense when he is the sole target of the claims. As a family unit, they all become victims and he is going to be spending a ton of time managing the family, each time something comes out. And if he needs to rebuild his brand, he needs to have time to able to focus.

b. There will be continuous scrutiny of his actions as long as he is married. He cannot look at a picture of Mother Teresa without the media and his wife analysing his actions, his motives and potential history.

a. Each day he stays on he reinforces a lie. The lie about his marriage. A one night stand can be explained away. Even a series of one night stands can be explained. But a series of ongoing liaisons suggests that the problem is far deeper and the marriage was probably formed under erroneous assumptions!

For these reasons I think he should go alone. This separates him from his family and he is the sole recipient of all the bad news.

2. Atonement

Any brand that errs needs to be seen as paying for its ways. Tiger needs to do the same.

Going on Oprah is one way. But it just adds more grist to the mill.

His doings, are fundamentally private in nature, and I think he should seek forgiveness ‘privately’ as well. Beyond the usual apologies to his family, fans etc, I think a brand of this nature needs a grand gesture.

I was thinking something like a trip to the Vatican and a meeting with the Pope..a private visit, that gets leaked out..but the intent of the visit is to seek forgiveness for having sinned. As I said earlier, it is a private matter..and a private confession is what is called for.

Of course his team, will leak a few key highlights of the trip. That’s what the machine is there for!  Whoever he meets, be it the Pope or Rev Jackson or whoever, the purpose of this step is to get ‘forgiveness’.

As part of this he should take on, say 100 hours of community service. Pick something highly visible so that it is apparent that he is paying for his ‘sins’.

After all if the Pope has forgiven him it is a bit difficult for the media, and the women, to continue to air his stories. Makes them all looks very small minded.

3. Rebuild

In this phase he needs to resurrect himself and his image.

This has a few aspects to be considered.

First is his sponsors. He should be talking to them and offering them things he can/will do to make up for the last few weeks. Maybe he offers Accenture a set of CEO golf clinics. Accenture can use this to get to senior managers of target companies.  Will strengthen their relationship with companies far more than the advertising campaign would do. Similarly talk to the other sponsors about things he can do with them directly for 2010. This makes him appear as concerned with sponsors and their funding more than just someone who gets paid every year for a few shots.

Secondly he should increase his visibility, in areas/spaces where he is ‘protected’ from potential hecklers. People need to get used to seeing him in the public so that when he does finally step on to the green for his first tournament he is a familiar face and not the first time the crowd sees him and lets him have a piece of their mind. I would recommend that he is at the Oscars (maybe even give away an award), be a guest judge at The American Idol, attend other sporting events. Gives him courage to be seen in the public eye again, with safety.

Lastly I think he should play a few high profile golf tournaments in places where they will not let their feelings about his private life be expressed verbally. What this does is allows him to concentrate on his game. And once he does that and starts winning a few tournaments, this whole sordid episode would be forgotten and the brand Tiger can start getting some lustre back.

Once that happens, and assuming his behaviour has been exemplary, he can even consider getting back together with his family.

I believe this journey is his alone to make, and staying with his family is going to put even more pressure on the relationship than that already exists!

So there you go..my 3 step Brand Tiger rebuilding plan.

1. Cut ties : Separate Tiger from the family.

2. Atone : Seek, and be seen seeking, forgiveness for sins from people who really count/matter.

3. Rebuild : Few select activities that retain/increase visibility and keep ties to the game

I see 2010 being spent in the rebuilding so that 2011 he ready to get those other 4 Majors and be remembered as the greatest golfer ever.

Perhaps this is a fool’s errand, but that’s my recommendation.

Any thoughts out there?

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