According to the daily Swiss newspaper Le Matin, Swiss watch maker Tag Heuer is to drop golfer Tiger Woods’s image from its US advertising campaigns for the foreseeable future. The newspaper quoted chief executive Jean-Christophe Babin as saying the company acted following “recent events” surrounding the sportsman.” This makes them now the third sponsor to drop the troubled sportsman.
This represents a complete about face for the Swiss watchmaker Tag Heuer who as recently as last week said it will continue its association with Tiger Woods despite the golfer’s highly public personal problems.
“We will continue,” the company spokeswoman, Mariam Sylla, had told the Associated Press. “He’s the best in his domain. We respect his performance in the sport.” She added that Woods’s personal life is “not our business”.
To be honest though, I can’t really say this is surprising. If you are familiar with Heuer’s advertising campaign the tag line is “what are you made of?” An apt question really and one that many people are probably asking of Woods now. Before the scandal broke the answer was likely to be discipline, integrity and uncompromising excellence, all positive characteristics which Tag wanted consumers to associate with and consider representative of their brand.
Now, the reality is far different.
The simple fact is that to a certain degree, Tiger Woods has lost his credibility and therefore his core value as a brand ambassador. As Mr Babin went on to tell the online newspaper “we recognise Tiger Woods as a great sportsman but we have to take account of the sensitivity of some consumers in relation to recent events.”
The question is, did they make the right decision? In my mind they did as he has breached the trust of not only his own wife and family but also that of the millions of fans that look up to him and respect him as a role model. From this point forward I think that if Tag Heuer were to retain Tiger Woods as an ambassador, at least in the near future, I would think differently (possibly less) of the brand.
Am I wrong? Please let me know what you think in the comments section below as it would be great to get some discussion going on this hot topic!