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Tiger Woods Brand Rehab: The Innovators

Embattled golfer Tiger Woods officially lost his first sponsor this week in the wake of allegations he had indulged in numerous extramarital affairs. As the accusations mounted, Woods announced last Friday that he would take an indefinite hiatus from golf to focus on healing his family.

Two days later, global consulting firm Accenture (ACN - Get Report) announced it was ending its six-year relationship with Woods, stating that although "it wishes only the best for Tiger Woods and his family," the company had determined after "careful consideration and analysis" that Woods was "no longer the right representative for its advertising."

Other sponsors have been more discreet in distancing themselves from Woods. Gillette, a unit of Procter & Gamble (PG - Get Report), issued a semi-sympathetic statement that "[a]s Tiger takes a break from the public eye, we will support his desire for privacy by limiting his role in our marketing programs." AT&T (T - Get Report) took a similar tack, stating that it was "reevaluating [its] ongoing relationship with him" even as it expressed support for his decision and sent good wishes to Woods and his family.

Nike (NKE - Get Report), on the other hand, has expressed its "full support" for Woods, optimistically looking forward to his return to golf. However, Nike hasn't continued to run advertising that features Woods. According to research firm Nielsen, Woods hasn't appeared in a prime-time television commercial since Nov. 29, when the story first broke. Nike may be supportive in principle, but it clearly isn't prepared to spend a lot of advertising dollars to prove it in practice.
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