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WSU Newsline: Bad behavior can tarnish celebrity endorsements
Monday, February 22, 2010 4:39 PM

The scripts are available for printing and for sound bite identification.

Background:
The impact on Tiger Woods for his off-the-golf course behavior may never be fully known, but it definitely affected his bottom line, according to many financial experts. Wichita State University marketing expert Cindy Claycomb says there's always a risk for companies that depend heavily on celebrities to market their products.

Voice wrap:
Announcer: Tiger Woods, arguably the greatest golfer ever, has parlayed his talent and image into one of the world's most valuable pitchmen. However, late in 2009 his image took a huge hit, and he went from being one of the most visible celebrities in TV commercials to nearly invisible. Wichita State University marketing expert Cindy Claycomb says companies have several options when their spokesperson's image is tarnished.

Claycomb: "There are some options for companies whose spokespersons behave badly. One is, depending on their contract, they could fire the spokesperson. Most of them back off of their ads until the publicity kind of wears down and they wait for public reaction and for the media to calm down. Some companies, as you can see, have stopped using Tiger in their ads."

Announcer: Claycomb says when Tiger returns to golf and starts winning again, many of the endorsements will likely come back. She also said companies will probably watch the public reaction to Tiger when he returns and make decisions based on that. This is Joe Kleinsasser at Wichita State University.

Sound bite #1
Claycomb talks about the potential for companies using celebrities for image purposes. The sound bite is 17 seconds and the outcue is "before his problems."

Claycomb: "There's really some good potential for celebrities being spokespersons for companies and some potential for companies, too. The celebrities obviously make money, and the companies, it really helps with their image — for instance, if you look at the history of Michael Jordan and Nike or Tiger Woods and Nike before his problems."

Sound bite #2
Claycomb says celebrities can make a difference in a company's image. The sound bite is 10 seconds and the outcue is "help those things."

Claycomb: "If companies choose the right spokesperson it really does help their image and their sales. If they choose the wrong spokesperson sometimes that doesn't work out, but if they choose the right one, it really does help those things."

Sound bite #3
Claycomb says Tiger's appeal was greater than most celebrities. The sound bite is 13 seconds and the outcue is "just across the board."

Claycomb: "Tiger's appeal has been really across the board. Typically endorsers will have just one or two endorsements, but Tiger's used by sports, technology, telecom, consumer products — just across the board."

Sound bite #4
Claycomb examines the risk facing companies that depend heavily on a celebrity spokesperson. The sound bite is 20 seconds and the outcue is "react to that."

Claycomb: "There are some risks for companies who heavily depend on celebrities like Tiger Woods. When the celebrities have something that's negative in their behavior, that often reflects back on the company and companies have to decide how they're going to react to that."

Sound bite #5
Claycomb said companies were reluctant to say they pulled ads because of Tiger's behavior. The sound bite is 16 seconds and the outcue is "came out about Tiger."

Claycomb: "While companies were a little bit reluctant to say that they were pulling their ads or pulling their products because of Tiger's behavior, it seemed a little suspicious or at least curious that the timing of these products and ads being pulled were the same time that things came out about Tiger."

Sound bite #6
Claycomb says when you're a spokesperson for many products like Tiger Woods, your image is a bigger deal. The sound bite is 12 seconds and the outcue is "that you took."

Claycomb: "As a spokesperson, if your image is pretty squeaky clean and you're tied to many products like Tiger was, it becomes a bigger deal. Sometimes if you're just tied to one particular product then it depends upon what the action was that you took."

Sound bite #7
Claycomb says when Tiger returns to golf and starts winning again, many of the endorsements will come back. The sound bite is 13 seconds and the outcue is "based on that."

Claycomb: "So Tiger's future … well, when he comes back to golf and starts winning again, I think the endorsements will come back. I think companies will watch the public reaction to Tiger when he comes back and then make decisions based on that."

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Contact: Cindy Claycomb, (316) 978-6938 or cindy.claycomb@wichita.edu.
Created on Feb 22, 2010 4:39 PM; Last modified on Feb 24, 2010 9:00 AM