Tiger Woods dropped by Accenture following off-course revelations

By James Quilter, brandrepublic.com, Monday, 14 December 2009 10:00AM

LONDON - Accenture has said it will severe its ties with Tiger Woods, as the consultancy firm heads a growing list of brands distancing themselves from the troubled golfer.

Last week Gillette took steps to limit its connection to Woods following media reports of the golfer's sexual indiscretions.

Gillette said in a statement: "As Tiger takes a break from the public eye, we will support his desire for privacy by limiting his role in our marketing programme."

Accenture has taken a firmer line in the communciation of its decision. When the company announced plans to end its six-year deal with Woods, Accenture openly blamed his current travails for its decision, stating he was "no longer the right representative" for the company.

Woods could also be at risk of losing his deal with AT&T. Referring to Woods' decision to take an indefinite break from the game, it said: "We support Tiger's decision and our thoughts will be with him and his family. We are presently evaluating our ongoing relationship with him."

Other Woods sponsors including Nike, TAG Heuer and Electronic Arts appear to be standing by the player.

Gillette uses Woods alongside Roger Federer and Thierry Henry, who recently came under the spotlight as a result of his handball during a World Cup qualifier between France and Ireland.

In the wake of protests by the Football Association of Ireland and fans, the brand was forced to deny it would be dropping Henry.

While Henry's hand-ball incident was committed on the pitch, there is a long history of off-field activities of sportsmen and celebrities damaging the brands they are paid to endorse.

One of the most recent was Olympic swimming star Michael Phelps, who was dropped by Kellogg's after photographs emerged in the News of the World that showed him inhaling from a bong.

Kerry Katona was axed by Iceland after tabloid tales of cocaine use, and Vic Reeves was dropped by Churchill Insurance following a drink driving conviction.

In 2005 Asda dropped brand ambassador Sharon Osbourne from its money-saving campaign, which was dogged at the time by stories of her wealth.

Speaking shortly after, Asda president Andy Bond said that marketers needed to use celebrities "with caution" and added: "They can serve a purpose but the danger is when there is a disparity between them and the company."

In 2007 the supermarket decided to bring celebrities back into the mix with a series of campaigns including Victoria Wood, Paul Whitehouse and Coleen Rooney.

This article was first published on brandrepublic.com

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