Accenture Drops Tiger Woods

Marketer Is First Sponsor to Drop Golfer in Wake of Sex Scandal

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CHICAGO (AdAge.com) -- Accenture today became the first major sponsor to officially dump Tiger Woods in the wake of the scandal surrounding the golfing superstar's marital-fidelity woes.

"For the past six years, Accenture and Tiger Woods have had a very successful sponsorship arrangement and his achievements on the golf course have been a powerful metaphor for business success in Accenture's advertising," the company said in a statement. "However, 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. 

The consulting firm, which has used Mr. Woods as a centerpiece of its marketing programs for six years, moved Friday to remove all references to the golfer from its website. The site had previously said of Mr. Woods: "As perhaps the world's ultimate symbol of high performance, he serves as a metaphor for our commitment to helping companies become high-performance businesses."

Accenture said its marketing would continue on its "High Performance Business" strategy and "High Performance Delivered" platforms, and that the company would immediately transition to a new, Tiger-free ad campaign, with a "major effort" set for 2010.

Mr. Woods late Friday announced he was taking an indefinite hiatus from the sport of golf in order to focus on family issues, following a string of embarrassing public revelations about his extramarital affairs.

While his biggest backer, Nike, offered unequivocal support, other sponsors have been less effusive. Gillette said it would reduce his role in its marketing during the hiatus, and AT&T said it was in the process of reevaluating its relationship with Mr. Woods.

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