BLAND LOYALTY: Air Tiger Goes Dark

tiger_woods_nike_1.jpgLOS ANGELES TIMES: As Tiger Woods uses silence to deal with the uproar over his alleged infidelities, his sponsors apparently are following suit, quietly not running his ads until the worst is over. Rick Burton, one-time brand manager for Miller beer and former chief marketing officer for the U.S. Olympic Committee, doesn’t think this means Tiger is no longer a bulletproof brand. “If a sponsor cuts him loose, that makes it look like the relationship was tenuous to begin with,” Burton said Wednesday. “I don’t think Accenture, Nike or Gillette want to do that. Sometimes what they’ll do is take an athlete and put him into a probation period, a quiet window.” And for Woods the ad window has been very quiet. According to data compiled by the Nielsen ratings company, no Woods ads have appeared on television since Nov. 29, two days after he crashed his Cadillac SUV outside his home in Florida. According to Forbes, Woods has endorsement deals worth $110 million with Accenture, Nike, PepsiCo Inc.’s Gatorade (which is discontinuing its Tiger Focus drink), Tag Heuer watches, Electronic Arts Inc., Upper Deck, NetJets, TLC Vision Corp. and Gillette. Although attempts to reach Nike, Accenture and PepsiCo Wednesday were unsuccessful, no spokesman from any of the companies connected to Woods has indicated the deals are in trouble. Yet. MORE

UPDATE: Tiger Woods said Friday he is taking an indefinite leave from golf to try to save his marriage, the biggest fallout yet from two shocking weeks filled with allegations of rampant extramarital affairs. ”I need to focus my attention on being a better husband, father, and person,” Woods said on his Web site. Woods and his wife, Elin, have been married five years and have a 2-year-old daughter and a 10-month-old son.

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