EA wants your thoughts on Tiger Woods
While many sponsors have already severed connections with the world's greatest golfer, EA decides to ask its customers how they feel about his recent troubles.
General Motors has taken away his cars. Perhaps it was something to do with his driving record.
Accenture has replaced all those entertainingly spurious images of him in their ads with a picture of an elephant on a surfboard. (Which rather finely describes the balancing act he allegedly tried to perform for so many years.)
However, EA is not going to be moved so easily to distancing itself from Tiger Woods. The companyit will release a new "Tiger Woods PGA Tour Online" game.
Now, Kotaku has discovered that EA wants to know just how you feel about the squeaky clean married man and super hero who has suddenly been associated with practices that would not seem seemly at any driving range.
EA is sponsoring a discreet survey through Greenfield Online. While the questions begin innocently enough, they then delve into the murky waters so elegantly navigated by the National Enquirer.
One question reportedly asks: "EA SPORTS makes a Tiger Woods video game. Has the controversy made your impressions of EA SPORTS more or less favorable, or has it had no impact?"
This is followed, according to Kotaku, with another deeply psychological inquiry: "Has the controversy made you more or less likely to buy a Tiger Woods related video game in the future?"
Surveys are such delicate things. All too often they leave you with a set of choices that doesn't quite reflect your natural behavior, or your real sentiments.
I would very much like to help EA and Greenfield Online in their desperate pursuit of truth. The problem with these questions is that they are temporary. The Tiger tale still has many twists and turns ahead of it. Because people are so touchingly fickle, they will react according to the next piece of information they are given.
Here are some potential scenarios and their outcomes for EA.
1. Woods gets back together with his wife. They go on Oprah to discuss it all. They live happily ever after and Woods is back for the U.S. Masters. Good for EA.
2. Woods goes off to start a new life with one of his alleged mistresses. Bad for EA, initially. But if he gets married again, has another baby, returns to golf and, gosh, starts winning again. Then it would be good for EA.
3. Woods goes into sex rehab from which he doesn't emerge for 12 months. Bad for EA. Very bad for EA.
4. Footage emerges of Woods in situations that, as the finest tabloids would put it, cannot be described in a family newspaper. So very, very bad for EA.
5. Woods is finally found in a hideout by intrepid employees of the National Enquirer. He hits one on the head with a 9-iron, as the Enquirer inquirer tries to leave the scene in a Cadillac Escalade. Very, very bad for EA. Unless it decides to release an entirely different kind of Tiger Woods golf game: "Introducing the Tiger Woods Smackdown! See what moving target you can hit with a golf club!"
EA is in deep with Tiger Woods. It must make decisions based on ultimately unknown scenarios. Surveys might tell the company how people feel today (Probably relatively indifferent). Surveys will tell them nothing of how people will feel tomorrow.