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Tiger Transgressions Hand Gillette the Trifecta

11 Dec 2009

Tiger Woods embarrassing and widely reported marital-fidelity woes are going to be a punch line for a while. And it hasn't been a particularly good quarter for Tigers fellow "Gillette Champions" either, seeing as soccer star Thierry Henry achieved global-villain status by using an illegal hand-ball to set up a crucial goal in a World Cup qualifying match last month, and tennis star Roger Federer dented his formerly immaculate reputation with a petulant bout of whining while losing in the U.S. Open finals in September. According to Advertising Age.


Two cheaters and a whiner wouldn't seem to be "the best a man can get," as Gillette's long-running tagline puts it, yet when it comes to golf, soccer and tennis, they remain exactly that. But while it's rare for a major advertiser to cut ties with a top endorser, those endorsers may still come a bit cheaper.


"Advertisers have all the leverage in the world right now, no doubt about it," said Dennis Blake, founder of the athlete-representation and sports-marketing firm Blake Sports Group.


David Schwab, VP-managing director of Octagon's celebrity acquisition divison, agreed. "For the entire celebrity area, when issues like this happen, brands and their legal counsel tighten a lot of legal language -- termination, morals and, yes, pricing," said Mr. Schwab. When celebrities do things that negatively affect a corporate deal, the legal terms typically end up more in the corporation's favor the next time. So if a celebrity is paid $10 as an endorser with no morals clause, the company might come back next time and say 'We'll do it for $5 and a morals clause."


Advertising Age goes on to comment that some even argue that the scandal has solved Tiger's one flaw as an endorser: his robotic consistency and demeanor. "If anything [Mr. Woods] is the one Gillette should put in front of the pack and say, 'Now we have a real personality,'" said Dean Crutchfield, chief engagement officer at branding agency Method. "In fact, 'The best a man can get' just got real. ... That's something they can capitalise on and celebrate: real people doing real things. These are real men leading real lifestyles, lifestyles that many of us would want."



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