What does it take to be a Tiger?

Since 2003, Tiger Woods has been the centerpiece of Accenture advertising. In their words "As perhaps the world's ultimate symbol of high performance, Tiger Woods serves as a metaphor for our commitment to helping companies become high-performance businesses."

Now in its fifth year, the campaign has become widely recognized around the globe but I am personally getting a bit tired of it all. Being a frequent traveler I see this campaign in every airport and after all these years it has been reduced to an airport wallpaper now. How many different combinations of catchy phrases like "playing it safe, Knowing when not to" or "left brain-right brain" can someone come up with?
Even if this pool of phrases is endless, what is the meaning of that after a while?

Working in communications and marketing I have often been is situations when marketers are intrigued and tempted by creative ideas that are "campaignable". Instead of trying to come up with a new ad every time, they create a "master concept" that they apply with minor modifications in order to communicate the same main idea, although with some variations. The obvious benefit is that consumers can more easily connect with the idea and when combining the different pieces they can get a whole which is larger than the sum of the parts.

The problem is what happens after that. How do you switch after 5 years with Tiger Woods to something else? What happens if Tiger Woods is not successful anymore? How do you reinvent yourself and keep your brand fresh?

Think about Absolut vodka for a minute. An Iconic Brand. A very successful campaign. Transitioning to the new campaign (in an Absolut world) has been a major challenge. (I was involved so I know first hand). Now,the brand is finally turning around the corner. But it took them years to come up with this new idea.

So successful advertising comes at a cost. Does that mean that we need to shoot for mediocrity in advertising? Of course not. But then again, the higher you set the bar, the more difficult your mission will be next time. Everybody can get lucky once. What makes the difference is consistency in creativity. The ability to sparkle magic time and again. And that's what makes the difference between the Apples of this world and the rest of the companies. Or to quote Accenture, that's what it takes to be a Tiger.