Tiger in the Tank
Instead of going on the offensive, Woods continued to remain out of sight in his Florida mansion, releasing an occasional whiny mea culpa on his Web site and pleading for privacy.
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Woods had financial arrangements with 14 major organizations that paid him a reported $105 million a year. In addition, they spent millions more creating commercials, Web sites and print ads featuring Woods, while millions more went toward purchasing media. They were:
Accenture — AT&T — American Express — EA Sports (Electronic Arts) — Gatorade — Gillette — Golf Digest — NetJets — Nike Golf — Tag Heuer Watches — Tatweer: The Tiger Woods Dubai — TLC Laser Eye Centers — Upper Deck (sports collectibles) — PGA TOUR (partner)
The car crash occurred on Nov. 27. All sponsors voiced support for Woods.
However, within two days of the accident, every single TV commercial featuring Tiger Woods was off the air. With the prospect of a huge scandal dominating the media, Tiger Woods showing up on a television screen would be a joke—a total distraction overpowering the product being sold. Running TV commercials at this juncture would have been a total waste of money and an insult to viewers’ intelligence.
On Dec. 9, Gatorade dropped the first shoe by discontinuing its Tiger Woods-themed beverage. "We decided several months ago to discontinue Gatorade Tiger Focus along with some other products," said the PepsiCo-owned company, "to make room for our planned series of innovative products in 2010."
The real problem for Gatorade may have been its tagline: Is it in you?