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Posts Tagged ‘Tiger Woods’

What A-Rod Should (But Probably Won’t) Do

Today in Ridiculously Overpaid Athletes Are People Too news, New York Yankees third baseman Alex Rodriguez is the latest beefed-up domino to fall in baseball’s ongoing steroid scandal. MLB commissioner Bud Selig decided to make an example of “Captain Rodriguez” with the longest suspension in the history of America’s Pastime.

The MLB Players Association appealed the decision on behalf of A-Rod, who is the only one of the 13 accused players to fight his suspension. Quite telling that the other 12 immediately ‘fessed up, isn’t it? The ensuing legal back-and-forth ensures that he will be able to wear a Yankees uniform for the rest of the season (which won’t last very long, considering the Bronx Bombers’ current 56-55 record).

PR to the rescue! According to The USA Today, Berk Communications President and “A-Fraud” publicist Ron Berkowitz posted a since-deleted tweet on Tuesday that read a little, shall we say, combative.

Hello Chicago!!! Lets do this!!! #fighting

—   Ron Berkowitz (@ronberk1) August 5, 2013

What was that all about? Well, in what one reporter called “an exceptional lack of self awareness,” A-Rod told the media “I’m fighting for my life,” strongly implying that Major League Baseball has it in for him. Poor guy.

So what will he do? And what should he do?

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Niche Marketing Sends Nike Sole Searching

Chances are you, or someone you know, owns a pair of shoes. Now consider there are currently about 7.078 billion people on earth. That’s how big and lucrative the shoe industry is, and for decades Nike has been at the forefront of shoe sales.

But times changed.

Nike’s original young demographic grew up and had its own kids. Spokesman Michael Jordan retired… twice. Competing brands gained influence. Technology turned the world inside out, and the public began consuming information a la carte instead of off the menu of mainstream television networks and newspapers.

Instead of being a lumpy, amorphous, loosely-defined mass of humanity, the public became a collection of niches. This may be a welcome development if you sell horse magazines or pirate-themed paper plates, but for Nike this changing reality is a big challenge. To reach customers Nike must exploit every channel from Twitter and Facebook to Youtube and traditional television, and it must do it in a way that resonates with the various sensibilities of different niches of people.

That’s hard to do.

Instead of courting famous athletes like Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong (look how well that turned out), Nike should exploit the new niche reality by going directly to its source: customers. The future of Nike’s brand shouldn’t focus on how far someone can jump from the free throw line, but on health, competition and style—the core interests of its dynamic target demographic.

Or it should go back to selling the original Air Jordans. Those are timeless.

Nike and Tiger Woods Lose Focus in the Name of Winning

The public loves tenacity. We understand that people go through difficult times, and many of those struggles are self-inflicted. But we love a good comeback story because we believe that tough times build character.

We all fall down, and most of us get back up again. It makes us better, more compassionate people. (This is why our Dad made us play soccer even though we had asthma.)

OK, so what’s up with the new Tiger Woods and Nike ad celebrating the golf legend’s recent return to “top dog” status in his sport? It shows Tiger measuring up a putt with the tagline “Winning Takes Care of Everything” over a Nike Swoosh and the word “Victory”. Is that the lesson Tiger learned from his sex-addicted meltdown and subsequent costly — on every level — divorce? Is that what Nike learned from former sponsor and fraud Lance Armstrong?

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When Should Brands Drop Celebrity Spokesmen?

Image courtesy of European Pressphoto AgencyToday brought the completely unsurprising news that Nike has suspended its contract with Olympian “Blade Runner” and accused murderer Oscar Pistorius in order to “protect the brand”. Of course, the company also dropped Lance Armstrong last month after he confessed to being a cheater and a general jerk. Other athletes, however, have fared far better even after their bad behavior created PR problems for Nike. Remember the awful Tiger Woods/James Earl Jones commercial? Remember how Nike stuck with A-Rod after he admitted to using steroids?

We also find it a little strange to note that Nike still has a very cozy relationship with its biggest spokesman, Michael Jordan, who not only admitted to being a serial adulterer but supposedly taught Tiger how to follow in his footsteps. (Both Tiger and Kobe Bryant, another famous cheater and homophobe, have new Nike campaigns on the way. Tiger’s is titled “apologies.”)

Here’s what we take from this development:

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The Unpredictable Power of Live Television

We human beings know that unpredictability is a profound force in our world. No matter how much we make plans, diligently practice and religiously strive to control the outcomes of our days, years and lives, we are all subject to the whims of a universe that is simply too vast, powerful and indifferent for us to control in any significant way. We hate, and love (or is it need?) unpredictability.

Either way, it’s not surprising that a new survey highlighting the latest Nielsen research proves that people still love to watch live television. We’re addicted to the unexpected.

These findings pose a unique problem for PR professionals like us who loathe the thought of losing control of our connection with the public. We’ve learned the hard way that even the most disciplined messaging strategy can be sabotaged by unexpected factors–like Clint Eastwood and an empty chair.

Nevertheless, we must adapt to human nature and harness its formidable power–fighting natural law brings nothing but disappointment and catastrophe, which is why PR students need to study Shakespeare as much as business management. Business is about desire and money, life is about love and unpredictability, and PR is about all of the above. Read more

‘Forbes’ List Wavers Between Popularity and Influence

What a week for Gaga, eh? She’s seemingly been everywhere, even on the farm. And now she sits atop the Forbes Celebrity 100  list, pushing Queen Oprah to number two.

“Gaga is there not just because of the $90 million she earned with a monster tour, but also because of her 32 million Facebook fans and 10 million Twitter followers–aka Little Monsters–who helped move 1 million digital downloads of her recent single ‘Born This Way’ in only five days,” the magazine writes.

The magazine goes on to say that Oprah can take a social media lesson from Justin Bieber in the number three spot.

The rest of the list seems to go this way; a hodgepodge of people who are given credit or penalized for whatever level of social media notoriety they’ve been able to attain.

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Sports Stunts Mix Viral Video With Advertising

This new viral video from Pepsi (h/t to PR Daily) turned up on the Pepsi YouTube channel late last week (it’s already gotten more than 1.5 million views) with an invitation to viewers to check out the Diet Pepsi Facebook page for “more behind the scenes action” from Beckham’s advertising shoot for the soft drink. Clever way to drive traffic. And David Beckham is quoted saying that the stunt was real, so there’s the residual media coverage that also came with the clip.

The video follows in the footsteps of last year’s Gillette viral video starring tennis champ Roger Federer, who, while filming an ad for the company, smashed bottles off of the head of a crew member. Pepsi one-ups Gillette by actually having Beckham drink a Pepsi on-camera.

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LeBron to Launch Animated Web Series

Image: Believe Entertainment Group

LeBron James will star as four different characters in “The LeBrons,” an animated Web series that will launch in the Spring. The series will be available on its own YouTube channel and on the basketball star’s website.

The characters are based on those featured in Nike ads: Kid LeBron, Athlete LeBron, Business LeBron, and Wise LeBron (they’re the four characters in the middle of the image above.)

And, the New York Times adds, the episodes will have positive messages for its audience, like the value of education. With LeBron’s large online following – via Twitter and Facebook – the story says it’s a good opportunity for sponsors as well.

So have we finally forgotten about that whole “Decision” fiasco?

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Gillette and Tiger Woods Part Ways

Gillette and Tiger Woods will end their relationship on December 31st, our friends at AgencySpy report. Gillette spokesperson Michael Norton told USA Today that Woods is one of a number of athletes, including soccer stars Thierry Henry and Lionel Messi, who are being cut as the Gillette Champions campaign comes to an end in early 2011. The campaign launched in 2007.

Other athletes, such as New York Yankees player Derek Jeter and tennis star Roger Federer will continue with other deals.

Woods’ other endorsement deals include Nike Golf, EA Sports, and Tag Heuer. According to the story, if Woods keeps his remaining endorsements and doesn’t sign any others, he could still earn $55 million to $60 million next year. And he hasn’t won a tournament since 2009.

Woods’ Campaign a PR Fail?

It hasn’t even been a week since Tiger Woods launched his media offensive – tweeting, writing, and making radio appearances – and already the campaign is being deemed a failure. Why? He’s boring (a sentiment we saw seconded on Twitter) and he’s not really saying much.

The AP says:

The problem isn’t just that Woods is perceived as an aloof phony interested only in padding his still hefty bank account…The real problem is that he’s not remotely interesting unless he’s winning golf tournaments. And until he does that again, no media blitz is going to make him palatable to the public again. Unfortunately for Woods, his game is about as messed up as his reputation.

In a separate story, the AP draws a comparison with Kobe Bryant, who quietly overcame negative publicity and came back with a winning game.

“Kobe went back onto the court and returned to his all-star status. He brought back the legions of basketball fans first,” MWW Group president Michael Kempner said. Of course now he’s catching heat for doing a video game commercial brandishing a gun.