By Melva N. Lloyd
The Associated Press has reported that international consulting firm Accenture PLC has ended its six-year relationship with Tiger Woods. This marks the first major sponsor to end all business relations with the golfer since his charges of infidelity came to light and his decision to take an indefinite leave from the sport to concentrate on his marriage was announced.
A spokesperson for Accenture stated on Sunday that Woods is “no longer the right representative [after the] circumstances of the last two weeks.”
Accenture’s advertising campaign was built almost entirely around Woods’ career, penning the slogan “Go on, be a Tiger.” The firm has used Woods’ squeaky-clean persona to embody its image of integrity and high performance.
The firm plans to transition into a new ad campaign that is set to launch sometime in 2010. Had Woods admitted his mistakes and promised to make a return to golf within a month, Accenture might have stood beside their star client.
Rick Burton, a professor of sports management at Syracuse University said that billboards and airport advertisements portraying Woods needs to be replaced immediately. “They had tied everything in their campaign to Tiger Woods it appeared,” he said, “if he’s not golfing, those ads don’t make sense.”
Woods’ various endorsement deals is what helped him become the first superstar athlete to earn $1 billion, according to Forbes. But while that accomplishment breaks records, Accenture was not the only company that decided to cut ties with the three-time U.S. Open champion.
This weekend, Gillette announced that it won’t air any Woods-featured ads or include him in any public appearances for an unspecified amount of time. Woods was hired by Gillette in 2007 and has been in ads for Gillette Fusion Power razors, using the catchphrase “the best a man can get.”
But there are sponsors who will continue to move forward with their products that highlight Woods. EA Sports has been selling Tiger Woods inspired video golf games for a decade now and have no plans to remove Tiger Woods PGA TOUR from the shelves. In fact, the game’s next edition will be released in six months.
AT&T and Nike Inc., while they admit that they have to re-evaluate their relationship with Woods, have decided to support the PGA Player of the Year for the time being.
The Tiger Woods saga continues.
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