Well I’ve so many things to write about and seemingly no time in recent weeks to get some postings done. So I’ve decided to have another splurge of pre-Xmas blogging. A couple of years ago I did 50 postings in the month of December which was great fun but I hardly saw my wife and family. I’m not going to attempt to do that many again but I will try and catch up a bit; maybe one a day is a bit more realistic. The first subject up is Tiger Woods. Wo ho what a story eh. The golden boy, the paragon of virtue, the world’s most iconic sportsman, the greatest golfer there has ever been, the highest earner in world sport, the untouchable Tiger is…banging cocktail waitresses and his car into a tree and a fire hydrant (unable to choose between a wood and an iron no doubt) whilst being clubbed by his irate missus. Such fun.
I don’t care what the guy does in his private time to be honest but what has made me smile is the fact that IMG have created this carefully cultivated image of Woods which has attracted some of the largest personal sponsorship deals in history. The fact is that Tiger, like all of us, has character flaws – he is a compulsive spitter, he swears like a trooper on the golf course (I don’t care but it doesn’t play well with the old buffers at Augusta), he gambles recklessly (some suggest he may have a gambling addiction), and his single-mindedness has made him aloof, even from his fellow professionals. Having Tiger in the US Ryder Cup team has, perversely, always given the UK and Ireland team a big lift because Woods seems incapable of being a team player. But all these traits have been downplayed or kept nicely hidden from the media view as the endorsements have stacked up. Now his cover’s been blown and I’m intrigued to see what happens. He might actually become a more likeable person now that we all know he’s far from perfect and only human after all. But I do sense that corporate America might start looking for a new icon. I’m especially pleased that one company’s marketing fortunes could have been damaged by association with Tiger. I’m talking Gillette whose products I find hugely overpriced and whose advertising ranks up there with the most overblown nonsense it’s possible to watch. Their key advert is the one with the 3 leading sportsmen using their incredible ball skills to knock inferior products out of the hands of various well-chiselled men, who then get to enjoy the so-called best shaving products a man can get. Yeh right. What’s so satisfying is that not only is one of the sporting heroes the now-disgraced Tiger Woods but one of the others is Thierry ‘it hit my hand by accident, honest’ Henry; who is destined to be remembered now as the lying cheating bugger whose lack of sportsmanship helped to knock Ireland out of the World Cup. Imagine the corporate squirming going on at Gillette HQ right now. All it needs is for Roger Federer to be caught in the showers at the Australian Open lathering up Andy ‘what’s the hurry’ Murray, to turn the dream associations into a brand nightmare. Ho, ho, ho.