Tag Heuer Plays Up Ties With Tiger Woods

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Branding is a tricky thing. Celebrity spokesmen come and go. A hint of scandal can drive a company to dump an affiliation with a famous endorser -- or not.The Tiger Woods scandal caused global consulting firm Accenture (AON) to remove the golfer from all of its marketing programs. Gillette seems to have cut back on using Woods in %%DynaPub-Enhancement class="enhancement contentType-HTML Content fragmentId-1 payloadId-61603 alignment-right size-small"%%ads. Nike (NKE), however, has decided to stand by the golfer.

On Tuesday, watch company TAG Heuer put a photo of Woods on the front page of all eight of its websites, according to CNBC. A check of the websites shows that each displays Woods' image with a headline reading: "TAG Heuer Stands with Tiger Woods." In a statement on the sites, Jean-Christophe Babin, President and CEO of the company, says, "The partnership with Tiger Woods will continue."

There is no explanation for TAG's action. It may be that, like Nike, the watch company believes loyalty to a long-time partner will play better with the public than turning a cold shoulder to someone in trouble. Woods will never get back all of his endorsements, but some of the companies may stand by him. Backing a wounded hero could have unexpected benefits.

Douglas A. McIntyre is an editor at 24/7 Wall St.
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