Tiger in the Tank
With just 47 words, Woods would very likely have improved his tattered image somewhat. He would have come across at least as a gentleman in business—an honorable person willing to take a huge financial loss because he's deeply committed to what’s best for his customers.
Does precedent exist for such a dramatic move? When football sportscaster John Madden made the surprise announcement of his retirement from NBC, his agent, Sandy Montag, offered sponsors—Ace Hardware, Verizon, Tinactin, Sirius XM Satellite Radio, MCI International and KCBS Radio in San Francisco—the opportunity to break their contracts. None took him up on the offer.
What's proposed here isn't an offer but a statement—a done deal, fait accompli.
If Woods offered contract cancellations, this would further embarrass his sponsors. The ball would be in their court, forcing them into the media glare to publicly make an ugly choice that wouldn't be universally popular whatever was decided.
With this statement the decision would be made for them. In effect, they couldn't fire Woods because he'd have resigned.
This would set up the possibility—however remote—of the relationship continuing at some future time after the PR tsunami receded and Woods was back to his winning ways on the golf course.
It was the only honorable thing to do. It would allow the sponsors to quietly fade from view and come up with alternative marketing plans. Those that wished to continue could do so.
Meanwhile, a lot of folks would think, "Hey, maybe Tiger’s really a good guy."
Accenture Trashes Tiger
In the past year, Accenture spent $50 million on advertising in the United States alone, and 83 percent of that exposure featured Tiger Woods. There was no way the company could continue with Tiger Woods. However, the Hail Mary statement might have ameliorated Accenture’s response.