TAG Heuer and Tiger Woods were once a match made in heaven. TAG Heuer is a luxury watch brand that has been creating a strong brand of sports watches and chronographs since 1860 and Tiger Woods is the best golfer in the world. But due to the growing scandal surrounding Tiger’s infidelities it may be that TAG and Tiger are no longer.
Tiger’s endorsement deals are what have made him a rich man; he’s worth a reported $1 billion dollars. Aside from his athletic gift he has always been attractive to sponsors because his image has been so clean cut. On the TAG Heuer official website it clearly makes this connection saying: “it is both his character and his achievements that make Tiger Woods unique. His personal obsession with results and perfection, his ability to withstand pressure, to meet expectations and exceed them, but also his love of discipline – all this makes him a natural partner for the brand.” Will TAG dump Tiger? The question remains.
“What sponsors don’t want to happen is what is happening now,” says William Chipps of the IEG Sponsorship Report, a biweekly publication that provides analysis for sponsors. “He’s letting the story spiral out of control. That’s a roller coaster that his sponsors don’t want to go on.”
Gatorade, another sponsor of Tiger’s, has already pulled the plug and people are taking note that commercials featuring Tiger are not being aired. In fact, the last time a Woods ad aired during prime time was November 29 (two days after his now famous car crash); the commercial was a 30-second spot for Gillette.
A comparable incident happened with Michael Phelps when he was photographed smoking pot; Omega watches stood by him when other sponsors like Wheaties (General Mills) dropped him. In hindsight maybe this was a bad move since people with the munchies may have ended up eating more Wheaties, “The Breakfast of Champions”.
And who knows, during these times of declining watch sales, it’s possible that this bad press could actually up watch sales. There is a saying that “there is no such thing as bad press.” Perhaps TAG Heuer will look to Omega for advice on how to handle this delicate situation.
UPDATE: Over the weekend TAG Heuer announced that it would stand by The Tiger during these hard times.