Oh, Tiger. You certainly fooled us.
Weeks after your scandalous news broke, it’s not the fact that you aren’t the role model we thought you were. It’s not the fact that you are cheating on a Swedish model and having unprotected sex with random women you meet in bars and clubs. It’s not the fact that my husband has always looked up to you (*ahem*).
No, what I’m struggling with now is actually not even your fault directly. You see, it’s not about how you fooled us, but about how some of your sponsors are still fooled. I just can’t fathom why some of them are standing by you, you dirty, dirty liar.
Let’s take Nike, for example, which pays you $30 million dollars a year. You just paid one of your mistresses some of these millions. These are the dollars that hardworking Americans earn and spend on your sponsors’ products. The sponsors hand the money over to you. To sell more of their products. Do they think the American public is stupid enough to want to buy more of said products because you, the now exposed Tiger Woods, are telling them to?
"I think he's been really great. When his career is over, you'll look back on these indiscretions as a minor blip, but the media is making a big deal out of it right now," said Phil Knight, Nike’s chairman and co-founder.
A minor blip. The media is making a big deal. Is Phil Knight married?
Spokespeople are chosen to represent companies and their products based on character, likeability, and some perception that people want to emulate their actions. Do your sponsors really believe that we think you are still likeable? Yes, you are the greatest golfer to every play the sport, but doesn't likeability incorporate the personal, not just the professional? (And dear God, I hope people aren’t wanting to emulate your actions.)
Will moms start to think twice about buying their families Nike shoes considering Nike’s position? Is Nike considering their mom consumers in making the choice to disregard Tiger’s “transgressions?”
Some may argue that Nike believes Tiger’s image will turn around somewhere down the line. But it really doesn’t matter if or when Tiger ever makes a comeback. What matters is that right now, Nike believes that Tiger still personifies the qualities that it wants its spokespeople to have.
Should it matter to consumers that Nike is willing to show more loyalty to its fallen spokesperson than to its own integrity for being associated with an immoral cheater?
Kudos to Accenture for giving its consumers more credit than that.