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April 23, 2014

Why Nike Deserves Kudos For Its Tiger Ad

by Joel Keller, posted Apr 8th 2010 2:08PM
Nike is kind of like the Microsoft of the athletic world; often derided and criticized, but wildly successful for reasons no one wants to acknowledge. For instance, I constantly keep buying Nike basketball shoes, even though I know that they're too narrow for my clodhopper feet, because they just look so damned cool.

One of the things they've been able to do so well is put together compelling advertising. And, after the Tiger Woods mess spilled all over the media landscape, there was likely a large segment of those watchers who were wondering what Woods' largest sponsor would do to address the mess. Would they meet it head on or try to avoid the issue?

Well, the met it head on, and in the best way possible. Here is the new Nike ad with Woods, debuting during last night ahead of the Masters:




In the ad, Tiger stares at the camera, swathed in black and white. Meanwhile, the voice of his late father Earl is heard saying that he just wants to know what was going through Tiger's mind and, in the clincher line, "if you learned anything."

Some might think that using the disembodied voice of Tiger's dead father was creepy. Maybe, if Earl Woods was being used to promote some clubs or a new pair of sweat-wicking golf slacks. But Earl was Tiger's most trusted confidante, his mentor, and the person he turned to the most for advice. It seems fitting that Tiger and Nike would use Earl's voice to "speak" to (or some would say "lecture") Tiger on what's been going on at least since Thanksgiving.

But that's not even the part that makes me appreciate the ad the most. What impresses me is that Nike decided to come out and address the mess and signal that their premier client is back, all at the same time. They could have just run generic golf ads during The Masters, or highlighted some of the other golfers under their umbrella. But they, and Tiger, chose to just plunge in and say, "Yeah, we know this happened. Tiger knows he has a lot of work to do. It's time to move on."

Ad man and media, um, "star" Donny Deutsch was interviewed by the 'Today' show about the ad and came to largely the same conclusion, despite Meredith wondering if using Earl's voice was creepy:

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Believe me, I wish I could slam a huge corporation for being chicken or exploiting something the shouldn't have for huge profits. But, given the position they were in, they did a much better job than anyone would have anticipated. What do you think of the ad? Creepy or effective? Let me know in the comments.

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Christopher

So am I the only one that doesn't really see the big deal? Companies have been using dead people to sell products for years. I dunno. Maybe because it's trying to do something and I heard so many people talk about it before I watched it. I just don't get all the rabble about it, and I follow golf.

April 09 2010 at 9:57 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Christopher's comment
GL

No, I don't think it's a big deal.

However, I think the commercial is lame and I'm not sure that most of the male golfing public really gives a crap about Tiger's personal issues.

April 10 2010 at 9:09 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Jim

Not everyone agrees.

Nike unveils embarrassing new Woods spot: http://adweek.blogs.com/adfreak/2010/04/nike-unveils-embarrassing-new-woods-spot.html

April 09 2010 at 9:01 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Pitter

this is some good stuff

April 08 2010 at 6:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Pitter's comment
Dan H

If it wanted to be reality, it should have been the old drug commercial from the 80's...."I learned it from watching you, alright! I learned it from watching you!" Considering his dad used to cheat on his mom.

April 08 2010 at 8:02 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
rlwebbjr

I think this ad campaign is despicable. For Nike to turn this all into an ad campaign and to exploit the guy's dead father so that they can sell golf equipment is disturbing and wrong at so many levels.

April 08 2010 at 6:26 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Joyce N.

It's totally PR BS. And in very poor taste. Wonder how many takes it took for him to make the sad face.

April 08 2010 at 6:08 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Chip Douglas

While this "problem" is between Tiger and Elin, none the less, it deeply affects Nike (Accenture,TAG Heurer). I think they are trying to face this PR nightmare head on. While this may have an effect on their short term profits, long term, Tiger is a winner. That is the bottom line. As soon as he wins a Major, there will be a lot less talk about his marriage and more about his golf game.

April 08 2010 at 4:41 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
C.A.

I know it'll happen pretty quick and I wish I had the video editing skills to make it happen. I know someone is going to add the classic "Just do it" to the swoosh at the end.

April 08 2010 at 4:09 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
GrumpyOldMan

You couldn't pay me to wear that Nike crap.

April 08 2010 at 3:54 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Gill

"For instance, I constantly keep buying Nike basketball shoes, even though I know that they're too narrow for my clodhopper feet, because they just look so damned cool."


Right there you're kind of negating any reason why we should even consider your opinion in the future.

April 08 2010 at 3:29 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Gill's comment
DarthPaul

Good job this site isn't a shoe reviews site then.

*facepalm*

April 09 2010 at 4:06 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

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