Reports: Tiger Woods Hires Ari Fleischer

Ari Fleischer laughing all the way to Tiger's bankThe interwebs were blazing with rumors that Tiger Woods has hired Ari Fleischer.

Of course, this isn't the Ari that the Entourage crew rolls with, but it's pretty close.

After all, as ESPN writer Gene Wojciechowski pointed out, this is the same Ari that botched Mark McGuire's re-entry into baseball; pimps the BCS (colleges weak attempt at a championship series); and, the guy who hand-held the Green Bay Packers through their very public and nasty divorce with fan-favorite and hall-of-famer, Brett Farve.

And oh yea, this is the same Ari that worked in the White House under George W. Bush as press secretary.

Wojciechowski makes a point about how Tiger's issues can't be solved with PR.

I disagree wholeheartedly.

Is it bad timing? Absolutely. But can professional PR help turn a crisis ship around? The answer is yes.

When it comes to a crisis, brands need to get out ahead of it and deal with the issues immediately, honestly and swiftly.

Take the 1980s case, where seven Chicago-area residents died from tampered Extra Strength Tylenol products that had been laced with Cyanide. Despite the perpetrator never being caught, the great scare led to new safety initiatives, including tamper-proof lids, and the creation of gelcaps.

The Tylenol brand took a massive slap on the brand chin and could have fallen over and played dead. However, Johnson & Johnson, the makers of Tylenol, bucked the naysayers in the marketing business, which predicted that the brand would never recover.

However, two months after the recall, Tylenol re-launched with tamper-proof packaging and bolstered by an extensive media campaign, i.e. public relations.

A year after the recall, Johnson & Johnson's share of the $1.2 billion market, which had dipped to 7 percent from 37 percent following the poisoning, climbed back to 30 percent.

Johnson & Johnson was smart because they put the consumer first. In Tigers case, he didn't put his "consumers" first. Tiger's "consumers" are his fans and his sponsors.

If Tiger had the right counsel around him a month within the car crash "incident," which exposed his cheating and freaky nature in the bedroom, he might be looking more like Tylenol today than "Head On," that headache drug with the annoying commercials.

Photo credit: Associated Press