I had barely finished my recent issue of Sports Illustrated, where Lindsey Vonn denies any romantic involvement with Tiger Woods, when suddenly the pair conduct simultaneous Facebook announcements confirming the opposite.
Before you get caught up speculating how athletic any offspring they may produce could be and certainly before you wonder as to who earns more endorsement money, today there are some more fundamental issues to deal with.
Nike has Tiger.
Under Armour has Lindsey.
When they pose for a photo in branded gear is this somehow contradicting their duties. Are they inadvertently generating impressions for their sponsor’s competitors?
If Tiger starts wearing Red Bull hats do the marketing folks at Fuse Science lose their wings?
If Lindsey refuses to fly NetJets, will their stock crash? Hey wait a minute, doesn’t Tiger own his own jet? Why does he have a fractional aircraft sponsor?
Consider what we know. The pair released four posed, professional, sunny studio photos, featuring their super human athletic frames, to thwart paparazzi from profiting off disclosing their relationship. These photos spun through the digital universe almost as quickly as the stories of Tiger’s philandering did a few years ago. Did they really need to be on the cover of my daily newspaper. In Canada? Two divorced American megastars with (deservedly?) out-sized egos dominating my daily circular.
Yes it’s that big of a story. Neither leaves anything to chance. So imagine the reaction of their agents when each arrived on the “set” adorned in their sponsor’s logos. The swoosh v. the UA. These are not friendly rivals. Bitter is too subtle.
For the first time in sports marketing history the two logos co-existed in a marketing campaign. Harsh? No. That is what this announcement was. Two control freaks attempting to control our interpretation of their relationship. This is marketing. This communications management. Nothing is left to chance.
So I wish them well. They will have detractors. They will have critics. They will have doubters. But if they want to, they will probably succeed beyond our wildest imagination. They have that type of will power.
What needs to be determined is whether they will have any more co-branded adverts. Me thinks not!