Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Understanding the Tiger Woods Scandal

Why was Tiger selected as a role model for big corporations to advertise their products?

In the first place it was his fame as a winner in a field that seemed to be closed to minorities. That made him newsworthy in and of itself. The media covered him as a new type of champion. And as any product struggles to get more attention than the rest, being associated with a winner, if not "THE WINNER," makes the product appear as a champion by association.

What qualities make a star more valuable as an endorser of product?

First, the better known a star is to the public the more valuable s/he becomes. The simple reason: A star in the eyes of hundreds of millions is a star with greater candlepower than one with just a few millions. The math is simple: the more people become starry- eyed, the greater the number of viewers who want to buy the products associated with the star.

What about controversy? Doesn't it make the star even more interesting?

Yes, as a news item per se--people at the moment pay more attention to Tiger than before, but his usefulness for sponsorships is lessened. Where before the scandal his pristine reputation in all respects made him appear as a total winner, his endorsement is no longer effective with anyone to whom "moral standards" are important. And with the "flawless" reputation lost, many viewers would longer identify themselves with him.

Was it wise for him to give up golf for the moment?

Undoubtedly. Had he stayed, he would have been hounded every time he appeared in public, resulting in an ever greater hunger for paparazzi and tabloid writers to get material on him. It's much less interesting to keep his story in the headlines while he is not around.

Will his scandal do damage to the golfing industry?

Probably little. People who take up golf because of Tiger have done so already, and it is highly unlikely they will lose interest because of a scandal involving the biggest star in the sport. Sports, whether as a participant or a spectator, are habits, and most habits are not easily broken.

What can we conclude from it all?

Stardom is about money. Prizes for the star's performance, product endorsements and the fame that opens doors are the star's rewards. Publicity surrounding him is food for the tabloids who make money by "exposing the star's flaws." There is money to be made when the star gets brighter and stays brighter, and there is money to be made when his light is darkened by scandal.


Anonymous said...

what do you think will be the best timing of his return to golf? Edwards never returned to politics but maybe that is very different -ir

Anonymous said...

Nice entry. Isadora , look at Kobe Bryant and David letterman nobody even remembers their infidelity. This country needs to grow up and stop buying into the trash news. I'm not defending tiger, I just don't really care about his personal life. I predict tiger will be back next season for the masters tournament and no one will even remember.

No one is perfect and our puritanical roots make us want to slap a scarlet letter on his chest and call him Hester woods!! I think I would rather read about iran.

Howard said...

Tiger will return as soon as the excitement dies down. This would in turn depend on how soon another celebrity steps into the scandal spotlight or if there are enough "human interest" news stories to get the public to focus on. It would be interesting to determine how many unfolding stories the public is capable of following at any given time. Any time the unwritten quota is met by enough newcomers, older items like the Tiger story are put at the back of the shelf.