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The Why of the Tiger: Grading Tiger Woods' Endorsements

Wednesday, 4 Apr 2007 | 5:03 PM ET

The Why Of The Tiger:
Tiger Woods might be the world’s most marketable athlete, but he isn’t necessarily good at selling everything and companies aren’t necessarily great at using him either. So right before the Masters begins, I’m going to dedicate some of this blog to tell you who is making sense of using Tiger and who has no clue.

Accenture = F

I can’t imagine how much these guys have spent, but I feel really sorry for them. I see their ads everywhere. In magazines. In every airport I walk into. And they just don’t work. “Go on. Be A Tiger.” Sorry guys, but it doesn’t do it for me. Just like endorsing an operating system doesn’t work (LeBron), endorsing a consulting company doesn’t have much upside either. Don’t be upset Tiger, your buddy Phil Mickelson’s Bearing Point deal is horrendous as well. I’ll explain a little bit more why this doesn’t work. Using an athlete for an endorsement is a business to consumer pitch. Consulting companies are almost all a business to business pitch.

Buick = B-

Got to hand it to you guys since you’ve made some pretty creative advertising -- including the latest Tiger tackling spot -- and the Buick giveaway was genius. The bottom line, however, is no one really believes that Tiger drives a Buick. Actually let me restate that because he does show up to every tournament in a Buick. No one really believes that if Tiger wasn't being paid millions that he'd really drive a Buick. How could Buick capitalize? Come up with a $130,000 car that Tiger really would drive.

Nike = A

I really don’t have to say much here. They’ve swooshed him out. They’ve done incredible commercials and he's the force behind their $500 million-plus golf line.

American Express = C

I’m not sure if I just haven’t been paying attention, but all I’ve seen is magazine ads recently. In this dynamic world that just doesn’t move the needle. Unlike Buick, I do believe Tiger really has an American Express card because it has established itself as the top credit card brand.

Tag Heuer = D

Even if Tag puts the best advertisement on the air, they have one fundamental problem: Tiger doesn’t play with a watch. That really kills the deal. If he doesn't wear it when he plays, you can't get any real exposure.

Electronic Arts = A

Putting Tiger’s name behind its game was brilliant and it shows in sales. The latest commercial in cooperation with Nintendo’s Wii was absolutely hilarious but very relevant.

Gillette = N/A

It’s too early to make any call on the Gillette deal that he signed in February. All I will say here is that the more Tiger can grow a goatee and shave it, the better.

Bud Selig’s Millions:
I know a lot of people think it’s outrageous that Bud Selig took home a total compensation package worth $14.5 million last year. I’m now going to present you with both sides of the argument. Those who say the Major League Baseball commissioner deserves this kind of money will point to the fact that the league set a record attendance mark for the third straight year, had its ninth consecutive year of record growth on the licensing front and the league has doubled the number of sponsors over the last five years. Those who don’t support Selig’s pay package could say that he doesn’t deserve a CEO’s salary because all the teams basically run baseball’s operations, not Selig. Let me give you one more way to look at it though it doesn’t really help you come to any conclusion. Let’s say MLB was public. I think it would have a market cap of about $13 billion. Legg Mason has a market cap similar to that and its CEO Raymond Adams Mason made $22 million last year. I can of course flip it around for you and tell you that Hershey’s market cap is $12.8 billion and its CEO Richard Lenny made $3.47 million. It is funny though that Selig’s salary is about a half a million dollars less than the Florida Marlins opening day payroll was last year.

On Dice-K:
Just put on the air Nike’s new Daisuke Matsuzaka ad, which will run exclusively in Japan. It is awesome. To take a look, click here and you’ll see it. Just gives you an idea how the Dice-K fever coming from Boston really is nothing compared to what will be happening in Japan. Nike will have a signature glove that it will roll out just in Japan in July. Sources tell me that, over the next three years, Matsuzaka will make at least $5 million from Nike, including sales incentives. The new deal is an extension of the deal he had in Japan, which first began in 2001. Just like Yao Ming, Matsuzaka will be able to make a mint in this country in commercials without even talking because he will be able to sign blue chip deals like this one. Blue chip companies know how to make great creative commercials that don’t need a voice. In other Dice-K news, at least for now, he doesn’t yet have an ice cream named after him. Late last week, it was believed that Brigham’s Ice Cream was going to rename its “Cursed Reversed” flavor “Dice-Kream.” Turns out it was just a joke, though people can vote on the company’s Web siteon what they do want to call it. Matsuzaka makes his MLB debut tomorrow against the Royals. Plenty will be watching at 3:10 am in Japan.

AFL and Patches:
Those of you who watch Arena Football games know that there are advertising patches on the jerseys. Here’s a list of teams and who sponsors them.

Arizona -- First Bank of Arizona

Austin, Georgia -- Aaron’s Sales and Lease Ownership

Chicago -- Discover Card

Colorado -- Frontier Airlines, Toyota

Columbus -- Germain Auto

Dallas, New Orleans -- Papa John’s

Grand Rapids -- Golden Nugget

Los Angeles -- Carl’s Jr.

Nashville -- Tennessee Orthopedic Association, Reliant

New York -- Met-Rx

Orlando -- Alka Seltzer, Bayer

Philadelphia -- Target

Tampa Bay -- Champs

Utah -- Vehix

News & Notes:
Soon-to-be-inducted Cal Ripken Jr. will appear on QVC tomorrow night at 10 p.m. ET. Ripken will offer shoppers signed baseballs, jerseys and trading cards…Controlling the Game announced today it acquired Verdero, a baseball footwear and apparel division of FILA. CTG, the first Latino-owned company licensed by MLB to sell equipment to ballplayers, will rename the products Verdero. It is estimated that about 5 percent of Major Leaguers use Verdero products including Ivan Rodriguez and Bobby Abreu….Fairmont Tamarack, a joint venture development between Andre Agassi and Steffi Graf’s real estate company and Bayview Financial, released its first 125 pre-construction units last month. The units sold out in less than seven hours. The second release for the Idaho community that will open in 2010 will come in late summer…Puma has signed a deal with the Namibian Football Association. Other Puma-sponsored teams in Africa include the Ivory Coast, Ghana, Cameroon, Egypt, Tunisia, Senegal, Togo, Morocco, Mozambique, Angola and Botswana. The 2010 World Cup will take place in South Africa.

Questions? Comments? SportsBiz@cnbc.com

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