When Brands Collide

I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw the front cover of the January 2010 edition of Golf Digest in light of everything that has happened to Tiger Woods in the last few weeks or so – and I quote Geoff McClure from The Age newspaper “surely the most excruciatingly ill-timed front cover ever”, with the main headline reading 10 TIPS OBAMA CAN TAKE FROM TIGER.


Having been in the brand design and creative industry for over 16 years I have certainly had the odd printing mishap but this has to to take the cake – even if it was out of any publisher, editor or printer’s hands! The January edition shows a mocked up image of President Obama checking his line for a putt with Tiger standing behind him as his caddie.

Inside, the article goes further and adds to the awkward situation by associating President Obama and Woods as “two men who might have much to talk about, like siblings separated at birth” and what’s more Golf Digest acknowledges Woods as “a good roll model because he has always been able to pull himself together after setbacks”, hmmmm maybe not this time.

Since I started drafting this blog it was alleged that Tiger had as many as 10 affairs with that figure now rumored at 12 and his brand taking more hits than an entire round of golf! Sponsors are dropping him like hot potatoes, first Tag Heuer, followed by Gillette slowly phasing him out and now more recently AT&T Inc. and Accenture evaluating their relationships with the world’s number one golfer. According to David Martin, president of Interbrand Corporation’s New York division, “the publicity may taint Accenture (which has been linked to Woods since 2003) more than other sponsors because the ads tie Woods so closely to its values.” He goes further to say, “his qualities they’re using as a metaphor for their qualities – they’re in a more precarious position than anybody else.”

Now the question begs, will this have possibly damaged the Obama brand? I think not but Tiger is certainly well and truly not out of the Woods yet. Maybe some chill out time on his super yacht aptly named ‘privacy’ will do him the world of good.

If you’d like to talk with us about brand association, politics & golf, or disaster-proofing your brand, give us a call.

Dominic Guthrie
Senior Client Director


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