Cutting Tiger Woods Generates Positive Buzz for Brands

Before controversy engulfed Tiger Woods, big brands built buzz by putting the iconic golfer in their ads. Today, some marketers are getting positive responses from consumers by cutting their ties to the troubled sports legend as the media firestorm over his personal conduct continues to rage.

So says the Brandweek Buzz Report by market research firm YouGov. The weekly consumer survey analyzes the most talked about brands based on buzz: If you’ve heard anything about the brand in the last two weeks, was it positive or negative?; and reputation: Would you be proud or embarrassed to work for this brand?

YouGov interviews 5,000 people each weekday from a representative U.S. population sample. Respondents are drawn from an online panel of 1.5 million individuals. A score can range from 100 to -100 and is compiled by subtracting negative feedback from positive. A zero score means equal positive and negative feedback.This week, the report spotlights:

•    Nike
•    Gatorade
•    Gillette

Nike Reputation Crashes
Nike’s reputation with women over 18 has declined since Woods’ Nov. 27 car crash. Nike’s reputation score among this demographic dropped from 30 on the date of the crash (see arrow) to 21 one week ago, Dec. 11. The potential good news for Nike is that there has been a recent uptick in the score, which could mean that perception is beginning to stabilize.

Gatorade Makes Timely Decision
Among men over 18, Gatorade’s buzz scores have been increasing during the month of December. On Dec. 8, Gatorade announced that the Tiger Focus sports drink was being phased out. According to Gatorade, that decision was made several months ago, but the timing seems to have been beneficial. Gatorade’s buzz score for men over 18 increased from 21.3 on Dec. 8 to 25.1 on Dec. 11.

Gillette Bounces Back

Gillette’s buzz score had been declining during the month of November, accelerating around the time of Woods’ crash, and decreasing from 21.8 on the Nov. 27 (the crash date) to 15.1 on Dec. 4. Since then, men appear to have responded to P&G’s (the owner of Gillette) cautious approach with Woods. Since the company’s announcement that it would limit marketing featuring Woods (notably the Fusion “MVP” razor ads also featuring Roger Federer and Derek Jeter), scores have rebounded to 20.4.

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