| Where is the boycott which
triggered advertisers to pull their ads featuring Tiger Woods? The answer is,
there is none. Advertisers dropped Tiger Woods ads because of a fear of a
backlash for his marital infidelity, fearing and expecting an uproar by
consumers over his celebrity status as there has been with other celebrities.
If those advertisers would have checked with Boycott Watch, they would have
known that sports fan boycotts do not work because true sports fans do not
boycott their favorite sports or teams. In fact, we reported just that on June
2007 with our article titled "Sports Fan Boycotts Do
In the Tiger Woods case, no boycott
was called and there is a reason for that - sports fans, especially golf fans,
are just that - fanatics. In the case of golfers, they are interested in the
best score they can get no matter what. Even North Korean leader Kim Jong Ill
lied about gold when in June, 2004 he claimed to have scored
under par in his very first outing.
name of the sponsor may influence a purchase, golfers are not going to be
swayed away from products, and especially the game itself, just because one
player shattered their dreams. Also, kids tend to grow up aspiring to be great
baseball or basketball players, not great golfers so there is no inherent
parental backlash to protect their kids.
infidelity, Americans forgive. That's what we do. The problems Tiger Woods face
are his own and of his own making. Advertisers hired Tiger Woods as their
spokesman for both his rags to riches story and his squeaky clean persona, then
dropped him in fear of a backlash against their companies but the advertisers
failed to notice one vital factor - there are no declared boycotts of Tiger
Woods so they reacted to nothing.
reacted as if there was a boycott as we saw with non-sports celebrities.
Americans boycotted yet eventually forgave David Letterman for his sexual
innuendo comments about Governor Palin's fourteen year-old daughter, forgave
Don Imus for his racist comments about the Rutgers Women's Basketball players,
and even more or less forgave Mel Gibson for his drunken Antisemitic rant to a
police officer. We don't forget, but we do forgive.
So why then are advertisers starting to officially dump Tiger Woods? From a
consumer standpoint, it's an overreaction. Like Boycott Watch President Fred
Taub states, "you can't boycott something you don't buy anyhow" and in this
case non-golfers are cannot boycott golf products. In a similar case, the NFL
made a mistake when it dumped Rush Limbaugh as an analyst because of boycott
threats by people who don't watch football anyhow. While Mr. Limbaugh would
attract his radio audience to Monday Night Football, avid football fans are not
going to stop watching the game because of any one commentator.
Friday, the Associated Press released a story that
Swiss watch maker Tag Heuer "will not use Tiger Woods' image in advertising
campaigns in the United States for the foreseeable future." That is not to say
the company will drop Mr. Woods altogether, nor does it mean the company will
drop him in European ads. These moves though tend to come before, and sometimes
trigger other companies dropping endorsement deals altogether, and that would
also be a mistake.
Big name celebrity endorsements
bring in sales, and in many cases it moves sales off the charts. Dropping the
Tiger Woods endorsements may hurt the long-term profitability of a company in
this case because of a lack of a big name to attract consumers to a big ticket
luxury item. Glenn Beck and David Letterman found plenty of new advertisers to
make up for the ones who dropped them. In the case of Tiger Woods, golf fans
are going to keep watching the sport, including Tiger Woods when he returns,
and buying the products he endorses as long as he continues to play well.
Golfers are crazy about taking every advantage and opportunity to play better,
so if Tiger Woods says something is good, it's good.
In the short run Mr. Woods is not getting any tournament win money and he is
loosing lots of sponsorship dollars. The real question Boycott Watch has is
will Mr. Woods ever recover mentally and regain his golfing crown. In long run
however, Tiger Woods will be back and businesses which stop sponsoring him will
be the real losers.