Gillette nearly out of the Woods

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Thu, 28/01/2010 - 15:38

Last month saw a celebrity scandal of epic proportions. No-one who picked up a newspaper could avoid the headlines linking Woods to a string of women. The storm blew up after Woods crashed his car into a fire hydrant and a tree outside his Florida home at the end of November.

Tiger Woods is considered one of the best - if not the best - golfers of all time and until his recent troubles, was seen as one of the cleanest, safest athletes in the world.

In the last couple of the months the golf superstar and marketing icon has seen his world begin to unravel. From a marketing perspective the real interest lies in the impact on the brands he is linked to.

A statement on at that time declared that "Most marketing experts...agree Woods' brand will not suffer great harm based on current information, given how fans have forgiven far worse from their sports heroes."

Despite this assertion, the vast majority of his sponsorship deals were pulled. Accenture, Tag Heuer, Gillette and other companies scaled back marketing campaigns that included Woods. Nike seems the only brand to have stood by Woods. Perhaps the fact that Nike is the only brand that sells Tiger Woods branded equipment whilst all the others focus on using the golfer and ultimately his reputation to boost their brand may explain why.

BrandIndex results show that the publicity surrounding Woods had a negative impact on the 'Buzz' scores for both Nike and Gillette. Gillette and Nike halved their scores from 14.9 to 7 and 12.3 to 6.6 respectively between 1st December and 23rd December. Interestingly, the announcement that Gillette were going to limit its sponsorship deal with the star on 12th December stopped the rot. 'Index' scores show an interesting pattern. Nike suffered significant declines in their overall brand health, possibly due to their continued support of the star. Gillette wasn't impacted to such a great degree. However both brands appear to have recovered although whether Nike recovers back to levels seen prior to the scandal remains to be seen.

Gillette and Nike 'Buzz' scores
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Gillette and Nike 'Index' scores
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