Notice anything different about the cover of the upcoming Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12? EA has shifted its focus on the Masters tournament rather than the controversial golfer.
When news broke of Tiger Woods’ infidelity, many companies smartly chose to end their endorsement deal with the golfer. However, EA Sports very publicly stood by their man, figuring that his private life couldn’t possibly affect his status as a golf wunderkind. Unfortunately, many additional women came forward to claim that they had been with Tiger. It became rather comical. I wonder if EA regretted their decision.
Let’s look at the design of the cover a bit closer. In the past, EA relied solely on Tiger’s face to sell games. People associated Tiger’s face with his golfing ability and this added value to the EA brand.
After the scandal, Tiger’s face became synonymous with infidelity because in every store checkout stand, there are 3-4 different tabloids with Tiger’s face next to giant bold text saying things like ‘INFIDELITY’ and ‘CHEATER’ and ‘MISTRESS.’
By minimizing Tiger’s presence on the cover, EA is relying instead on the EA Sports logo and the prestige of the Masters tournament to sell their game. Certainly, the lack of Tiger means the game will be less identifiable on store shelves. However, that’s what EA is banking on. For all intents and purposes, this is a classic case of damage control. The lack of Tiger will hurt the game’s sales, but not as much as if they keep his around.
I know what you’re thinking. Isn’t the name of the game still Tiger Woods? Yes, but the Tiger brand has been relegated to the very bottom of the box art. When displayed on store shelves, game boxes are stacked in such a way that the bottom of every cover is obscured by the row of games directly below. Essentially, the Tiger Woods brand is obscured. EA probably has to keep the name around for contractual purposes.
Augusta is the new sexy beast in town. Look at that sexy yellow flag. I’m not even sure if that’s Tiger’s silhouette in the distance.
ABOVE: Tiger in the tabloids