Tiger Woods Life in Public Relations

I would think it is safe to say we all remember in 2009 when over thanksgiving Tiger Woods got into the car crash that help make his infidelity a matter of public concern. If you don’t know what happened here is the link to an article that explains everything.

Tiger Woods is like any famous person, his life revolves around the image he represents although he is an athlete he also has many very powerful sponsors who make money for him being someone people look up to. So when the suspected infidelity became known world-wide his fans and sponsors wanted to know if it was true. Tigers sponsors soon took all ads off the air with him in it claming different reasons but not saying it was because of his unfaithfulness. Some sponsors such as Nike said they would stand by him thought the family issues.

Many months later Woods finally released a statement about everything that has happened and apologized for his actions. I really think this video is an ok example of what we have practiced in class as far as being in front of a group of people and trying to get the right point across. I am sure in this press conference Woods PR team had planned everything he was going to say.

I feel like Tiger Woods PR team really did a good job making sure he had a few key points that made him look like a better person but to some extent he also talked about how he messed up a lot which kept bringing it to our attention. The next article I found talked about how his PR team hadn’t really done a great job so far that even with his press release he hadn’t handled the press well. In his last act for a better image Nike his more popular sponsor released this ad which is his father’s voice asking him questions.

Now this commercial also had some mixed effects because some people thought it was a little cheesy and a pathetic attempt to change his image and some felt it was a good step in the right direction. As far as I see it Tiger Woods is someone who everyone looked up to and was a real role model for families so by destroying his image it is going to be a rough road to recover his image. I personally haven’t seen a commercial with him in it since the Nike commercial above.

As far as the PR campaigns go How does everyone feel they did? Do you think that Tiger Woods image has recovered since 2009 or do you still feel it isn’t doing well?

Ashley Counterman

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21 thoughts on “Tiger Woods Life in Public Relations

  1. Tiger Woods has dug himself in a hole that may take him more than 3 years to get out of. Honestly, his PR team did the best that they could. When something happens that could damage an image, the only way for audience’s to forgive is to forget. “Time heels all wounds”! With time and effort, the situation will blow over, just like every other. You don’t hear ppl still buzzing about Bill Clinton and his affair with Monica. 2 years later, people are not talking about Woods anymore. I’m not necessarily saying that his apology speech didn’t do him much justice, but the fact of the matter is, that was two years ago and his personal life. Although he has been turned down from endorsement deals, there are some people that willingly forgave him. I do feel like Woods’ image has revamped since 2009 and as long as he stays out of the spotlight, his image will revamp completely.
    -Martise W

  2. Here is a great summary of the 4 stages of a crisis – Think of these when you answer Ashley’s question – how is he doing today…

    THE FOUR STAGES OF A CRISIS (from Brad Phillips)

    STAGE ONE: In Stage One, the spotlight is beaming squarely on the incident. This is the “breaking news” stage. “What happened?” is the key question. And the news travels very fast in Stage One to Stage Two – it doesn’t take long for the story to jump the “fire line.”

    STAGE TWO: Stage Two is characterized by the focus on the “victims” and the response. The light moves quickly from the incident itself (although new facts will continue to emerge) to the “drama.” How could this have happened? How many people are hurt, missing and/or dead? How is the organization responding? How quickly did the responders get to the scene? The light will shine brightly on the perpetrator – or who we think the perpetrator might be.

    This stage is key. This is the make it or break it stage, the reputation forming stage, the stage where the rallying on social media sites, both negative and positive, becomes a focal point.

    The spotlight, with widening and growing intensity, points at the organization and persons who appear to be at the center of the storm. It will roam around and catch whoever will talk about what’s just happened. Experts start to appear on CNN, victims start talking in-depth about their experiences, and the organization starts to give its side of the story. And it can last at least 72 hours.

    STAGE THREE: Stage Three is the one best avoided, although inevitably we all want to go there – yes, the Blame, Finger Pointing Stage. Think back to the devastating oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico when the executives of the three companies at heart of the massive oil spill were severely chastised over attempts to shift the blame to each other.

    In this Finger Pointing Stage – everyone has an opinion about you, your product, your organization, your industry, even your country (ask Iran) – lots of “woulda, coulda, shoulda.”

    Stage Three is all about blame with the key question focused on “why.” The spotlight is more like a floodlight. Your crisis is beamed everywhere.

    STAGE FOUR: The light begins to dim in Stage Four which is the fallout/resolution stage. The spotlight now dims, but can easily be turned to full glare again if you slip up, or something similar happens in your industry. Your crisis is perpetually in print, on Google, in Wikipedia – searchable and discoverable. Your “sin” will be for everyone to see forever – you can’t take it back.

    Typically, this stage marks the end of the crisis; there is some resolution. There might be a funeral, a government inquiry, or a Senate hearing. Your product goes back on the shelf, workers go back to the plant, victims return to their homes.

    The evidence is plain for all to see. Just watch the media coverage, follow the tweets, notice the Facebook posts and you will soon see the narratives played out in very predictable patterns, with very predictable questions. That’s the good news. And the bad? Well, it happens at lightning speed, so be prepared to make a statement within an hour of something happening.

    Gina

    • I’m really glad you posted this because this was something I was thinking about but did really find when I was writing the blog. I really like how this shows the different stages that happen during a crisis situation.

  3. To be honest, I don’t think either of Tiger Woods or his PR team did a good job at all. As many of you might know, his speech was widely criticized. I think the use of too much apologies ruined the effect of it. Just count how many time he said I’m sorry!

    It is an ok speech, not an outstanding one but he ruined it even more by not being able to remember even half a sentence. I mean look at him, he is constantly looking at the paper he’s reading from, and he could not finish a whole sentence without reading it from the paper. He even had to read I’m sorry several times. If you are sincere about something, you should be telling it from your heart not from a paper that someone wrote for you. You may look at the points you want to address in your speech but not read word for word like he did. It just seemed so fake to me and insincere. I might be wrong but this is how I felt about it.

    I agree with Martise, time will heel the wound, but there is no doubt that his image got affected big time. Why? Because this is how societies think? When you are a celebrity, you are expected to be a role model, which is never ever the case, yet we still love our celebrities! How ironic??

    In the meantime, let’s not forget that Tiger Woods was not the only celebrity that has been caught cheating and I doubt it he will be the last. That’s their life style, if people think this is bad, then just stay away.

    Also, I think 14 minutes of speech is way too long and ineffective. He could’ve send the same message in 5 minutes and his speech would’ve been much more effective.

    • I completely agree that his speech wasn’t completely affective. It did seem to long and I felt he just kept repeating himself. Do you think that being a celebrities use the excuse it is their lifestyle when it comes to situations like this one??

      • I am not saying that they should use the excuse of “this is our lifestyle,” of course not, celebrities should understand that they are under the public’s eyes all the time, and they have to be careful about everything they do. From what they wear to the grocery store to what they say infront of the president. In the meantime, I am just saying that people seem to be so shocked every time the news write about some celebrity’s scandal or love affair, and then it become like… omg, I can’t believe he or she did that!! This is a world of money, fame, and everything goes. It won’t be shocking to me if I hear that he did it again after few years.

  4. No matter what efforts are made for him, there is not much he can do to restore his image to its former glory. Then again, some can say that he was already pushing some boundaries anyway (with his “Caublasian” rant, among other things). Not everyone abuses their power, authority, or fame, but some can let their good fortune make them feel invincible. Although these celebrities and people in the limelight are still people, they do have a greater responsibility than the rest of us since the public eye is virtually always on them. I’m not saying that he asked for it, but I do believe that he, like eveyone else in his situation, has to pay his dues. What he did was wrong- not just to his wife and family, but to his fans and people that looked up to him. Let’s face it, no one is really screaming out infidelity is right, and the many women that he was with was just ridiculous. This wasnt just a slip up or mistake- he had almost 20 (from what I remember) mistresses. I believe his PR team did the best they could do in light of the whole situation, but regardless of everything they could do, the public has a mind of its own. And when it comes to athletes, entertainers, politicians, and other famous people, the public tends to lean on the unforgiving side, and forget…I don’t think so! So, as stated earlier, the PR team, I felt, did the best they could in light of the situation they were put in.
    -Jaleesa

  5. Outside of golf fandom, I can’t really give a better view of how his image crisis has shifted over the past two years. I assume he still gets work? But it’s always going to be stained; we as humans do not naturally forgive and forget so readily. There’s only so much a PR team can do in that muck, and I thank goodness the route of owning up and taking responsibility was taken rather than trying to somehow warp him into the victim or know-nothing.
    The rest, really, is up to Woods himself and his behavior. If he can maintain a respectable image and lifestyle, then power to him and all that hard work in trying. If not, well. How many stars has the American people seen burn out?
    Personally, I haven’t paid any attention to him whatsoever since ’09. His infidelities disgust, yet do not surprise me. Fame is a wicked poison in ways. Yet how nice it is to have that PR team to help cover his butt when the light comes on and exposes the dirt…I wonder if the average man would ever be able to recover.

    –Laura

    • I like what you said at the end about how famous people get a whole PR team to clear up their problems but the average person not so much. Do you think that without the help of his PR team he would have had been able to clear up the situation as well?

  6. Ashley,

    I did not follow much of the drama that went along with Tiger Woods when it first occurred, and I listened to your videos, but I could not get the link to your article work. With that being said, I am having a hard time writing a response because I feel a slight bias towards the whole thing. I think that for many people it was good that he came out and made an apology. However, 1. I don’t really buy it, because let’s face it, he was forced into an apology I would imagine, although, at the same time I’m sure that he was also interested in saving some shred of dignity and a career. He is a grown man, he knew what he was doing at the time is considered morally wrong by many, but he still chose to partake in the act. 2. I truly do not believe that his personal life, or any other celebrity’s or politician’s personal life should really be put in the public eye like that or have it affect the direction of their career. Their sex life in no way directly affects their athleticism. For a politician, it may affect his views, but still their escapades do not affect their ability to run a state or nation, etc. Fortunately we live in a democracy and if you don’t like their views, then you do not have to vote them into office.

    Trying to set my bias and annoyance with the public’s obsession for what famous people are doing every second of every day, I have to say that at least his PR agents tried to put something out, even if it was some time later. The situation is delicate so it would be hard to handle no matter who handled it.

    Dayna

  7. As much as i really don’t care about Tiger woods, I think that his PR people’s attempts were effective to a certain extent. I felt that they’re purpose was trying to show that although he has upheld this squeaky clean image, he is still human, and rich or not, human’s make mistakes. i thought the audio of his father’s voice was great actually. To me, it showed that although we have so much guidance and are pushed in the right direction, we make mistakes. I think his PR did well.

  8. I haven’t seen any Tiger Woods ads lately either. I feel the same way as I did when I watched the video in my persuasion class. He HAD to apologize. I’m sure he knew he needed to but it was more so a “I must” situation. He’s a wealthy man and in the public eye with millions of dollars in endorsements. Tiger Woods IS golf and everyone knows it. You only apologize after you get caught. If the whole situation would’ve stayed within the Woods household , we wouldn’t know about all the women he slept with, the messages or even his lack of public speaking skills. Just kidding. He did a decent job giving that speech. I thought it was slightly too long and drawn out. His PR team did a heck of a job writing that speech. He created a sticky mess for them to clean up and they managed to not get stuck. You have to give them props for the speech, it was ALMOST a tearjerker. (sarcasm intended)

  9. I actually think his PR team did a superb job at restoring his image to the best of their ability. I think that the incident will always come back to haunt him if he doesn’t fair well in his profession of golf. I think once he becomes number one again in golf then people will forgive him. Classic cases are Kobe Bryant or actor Robert Downy Jr. Both of those people did and said some unmoral things but eventually recovered. So now when Kobe does an interview they’re not asking him about the sex scandal. They’re asking about the 1 or 2 NBA championship rings he got after the scandal. Tiger’s best recovery method is to be great at what he does and we will all soon forget the his past. His PR folks are good so I imagine that they are encouraging him to practice and stay at it so he can be the best player in golf once again.

  10. They may be harsh be Tiger got himself in this mess he is going to have to make things right on his own. This is who is this his character not his reputation and not amount of pr work can fix a person character if they don’t want to change! Let be honest he is only apologizing because he got caught and he was hoping it would not affect his money.

  11. Ashley,

    Tiger had such an epic image and was looked up to by so many. It’s unfortunate that he destroyed it, because he worked so hard to create that image. I worked at golf course, my boyfriend is a competitive golfer, and most of my family loves and plays golf. I have heard every opinion in the book on this topic.

    Sadly, he created such an awesome image that was difficult for anyone to live up to, let along keep for a long time. However, he did not just loose that image he demolished it. His PR people did the best they could with the situation. I remember watching the speech and just being annoyed by everything he was saying and the way he presented himself. After watching it again and without all the hype, he did stick to the main points very well. I highly doubt he wrote this himself and everything he said was great. The way he said it is completely different…very robotic in my opinion.

    But moving on, as for his PR people, the only thing I think they could have done differently was speak up sooner. The longer they waited the more skeletons came out of the closet…bad move. I think the commercial was a decent attempt to bring back the good guy image, but I can see how people thought it was cheesy and a low blow. Trying to make people feel bad for you isn’t going to work.

    All I can say to Tiger Woods and his PR people is just admit you were a pig and that you got caught up in all the fame, be a good dad, and move on with your career. That’s all he could do.

    Taylor Maguire ( Sorry it’s so long) 🙂

  12. I don’t think Tiger or his image have really ever recovered from this. His golf hasn’t been as good, that’s for sure. I remember thinking when this happened that he had always been so private about his life, and that gave the press more fuel to jump on him when something happened that they were able to report. I remember him being fairly quiet at first until more and more information came out, and then he tried to defend himself. I think the general approach that the PR took was ok, but Tiger’s speech seemed, as others have mentioned here, repetitive and not too effective. He didn’t seem too genuine compared to other times in front of the camera. And to think all it took was a car accident to start everything. I think his stint in rehab helped improve his image a bit, since it made him appear weaker and the public could be a bit more sympathetic to that.

  13. I witnessed each woman confess to nights spent with Tiger Woods, and at first i was surprised but after so long i didn’t care. Im not a golf lover so the affair didn’t hit me that hard. I didn’t feel like he owed any one an apology , but of course with such a big following he would have to do something to keep the stable fans he did have. I watched the apology speech and I’ve seen the commercials. NO they are not affective in convincing the public of innocents. I think its going to take time for the public to fully forgive him, till then the best P-R is the silent tactic. Stay away from the camera’s!!- oh and the hotels!!!

  14. I think there’s a certain degree of being fake when it comes to any celebrity speech. He may have really been sorry for what he did, but I think that should be a conversation that he had with his wife. Not many people have to publicly apologize for their infidelities. Although I agree cheating is very wrong, it doesn’t seem like it had anything to do with his golfing. He may not be very ethical but I didn’t think that was a big part of playing golf. I understand how personal lives get exposed, but as far as how people feel about his golfing, it should be unchanged. They did the best they could as far as PR but I agree that he should have memorized the speech so it looked more genuine.

    -Silvana

  15. I think the PR team effectively did their job. They did what they could to try and save Tigers image. They had him apologize and what not. The PR cleaned up the media, but his image is still scared. I don’t think there was really anything else the PR team could do. He clearly made a mistake that will always be with him now. In my eyes he made a ethically wrong choice and it was a bad choice for business as well. The PR team did what they could, but I think the rest is up to him. Woods can say sorry all he wants, but what is done is done. The only thing left for him to do is better himself. Continue his days by making better choices and if his fans see enough change in him maybe they will contnue to support him, but no matter what I’m sure some people will never again support him. He broke the moral codes of many people and that is not something that is easy to forget after an apology. But as people sometimes you can’t just forgive and forget.
    -Rhonda Farah

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