Accenture terminates sponsorship agreement with Tiger Woods

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New York—In a brief statement released Sunday, Accenture announced that it has terminated its sponsorship agreement with Tiger Woods.

The management and technology consultancy had sponsored Woods for the past six years, and the golfer had dominated the firm's marketing communications, appearing in print, TV, online and out-of-home advertisements, most notably in airport terminals.

"His achievements on the golf course have been a powerful metaphor for business success in Accenture’s advertising," the company said in the statement. It added, however, that "given the circumstances of the last two weeks, after careful consideration and analysis, the company has determined that he is no longer the right representative for its advertising."

Accenture said it will launch a new advertising campaign in 2010.

Branding consultants said the public announcement was unusual; generally, corporations sever their ties with disgraced celebrity spokespeople quietly. "It shows you how big an issue this is with Accenture's management and how frustrated and disgusted they are that they've been associated with exactly the wrong kind of guy for a consulting company," said Al Ries, chairman of branding consultancy Ries & Ries.

A survey of marketers conducted last week by Argyle Executive Forum found that about three in four "would cancel, reduce or suspend their business relationship with Tiger Woods, if currently using the professional golfer as a celebrity endorser."

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