With the 111th annual US Open starting this week, the biggest story remains Tiger Woods dropping out of the golf tournament due to lingering issues with his left leg. After his stellar performance at the Masters only a few months ago, the Open looked to be Tiger’s opportunity to sway the same naysayers I personally witnessed at last year’s Open in Pebble Beach. This year’s Open, however, looked to be Tiger’s first tournament win since his infamous 2009 sex scandal. But, with him out and now the next tournaments in August in question, Tiger’s future looks as uncertain as ever. Will he remain a tainted figure, or will he roar back?
What is the social media universe saying about Tiger?
What does a company do when — through absolutely no fault of its own — its brand becomes associated with criminal acts, and it winds up a punch line on late-night talk shows? Think about the damaged reputations of Kool-Aid and Jonestown, Bruno Magli loafers and O.J., Nike Windrunner sneakers and the Heaven’s Gate cult, or Ryder trucks and the Oklahoma City bombing.
These companies were in no way associated with the malfeasance of their customers but their brand reputations became tarnished by association. Such a stain can take years to lift. In the case of Kool-Aid, it’s become synonymous with blind obedience and uncritical acceptance of faulty logic — even though evidence indicated it was another flavored drink and not Kool-Aid that was used at Jonestown. While Bruno Magli temporarily profited from the O.J. publicity with a spike in sales, Ryder sold its consumer truck rental division and changed its yellow trucks to white just one year after the bombing. (Oddly, a link not indicated on the company’s historical timeline.)
The latest to fall victim is Casio. Apparently, their budget model Casio F-91W is the casual sport watch preferred by 9 out of 10 Guantanamo detainees.