Sarah McInerney of the SYDNEY MORNING HERALD reports that all is not lost on the endorsement front for Tiger Woods regardless of his seemingly endless extramarital affairs.
Tag Heuer chief executive Jean-Christophe Babin told the SMH that though the watchmaker may have dropped Woods in America, his endorsement is still valuable in certain countries. In fact, Babin claims that Woods marketability has increased in China because of his infidelity.
Consequently, in the US, Woods’s image has been removed from the company’s advertising. However, it remains on the Tag Heuer website and, in China, use of it has been increased.
“In China conversely you have Tag Heuer with Tiger Woods everywhere because [with] the Chinese it rather increases their esteem,” he said. “In China, by tradition, your success is measured by your number of mistresses.”
Nuts? Not if you look at the actual sales figures for the Woods Tag Heuer watch after the scandal broke.
(Babin said the) company gained market share in December and sales of the one product Woods co-designed, the golf watch, had the highest sales ever in that month.
“I can tell you, on Tiger, there is zero damage,” he said. “So I don’t know how they calculated that [figure]. Yes we received some letters off angry people because we are siding by Tiger so the question is, were they Tag Heuer users or not? Most were not. Would they ever acquire Tag Heuer? Most not as well.”
Meanwhile, Swiss watchmaking exports dropped by “22.3 per cent last year.”
“Generally speaking most markets suffered last year,” he said. “Some have bounced back already spectacularly. China is a good example.”
The Tag Heuer chief also made it clear the company will not abandon Woods. In fact, the company’s approach to Woods appears to be the contrary.
“As a global brand it would have been stupid to stop partnering with him because he still is and will remain for the next 10 years the best golfer ever, that’s for sure,” he said.
“He will resume golfing and when he will resume golfing it will be one of the biggest media [buzzes] ever.”
Babin is right. I’ve said all along that some day Woods will not only reach his previous endorsement plateau, he will exceed it. Why? Because the average consumer is so hopelessly susceptible to suggestion.
As soon as the huge conglomos say the coast is clear, it will be business as usual for Woods off the course. Make that bigger than usual. As we’ve seen innumerable times, the older the brand, the more rules of society no longer matter. Woods’ comeback will be the ultimate case study.
Cynical? Try empirical.