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Earl Woods asks his son a few questions before Tiger's return to golf.

Lately I have ranted about the lack of
brilliance in advertising and the seeming pablum we must endure. I am
eating my words.

This NIKE spot leaves me speechless. It takes
unbelievable courage to do something like this. This is as close to the
power and breath-taking clarity of the Toscani ads Bennetton ran years
ago. Wow.

Watch it now


  1. Bill Surgenor
    Bill Surgenor April 7, 2010

    It certainly is captivating. I still can’t sort out the emotions it evokes!
    It’s completely humanizing. I’ve seen that look in my children’s eyes when I’ve chastised them. And that’s what has me conflicted.
    When Tiger had been at his inspirational best, it was due to his incredible skills and his attitude of invisibility. He’s been a machine! But I certainly don’t need inspiration to be flawed. I got that covered.
    As for my kids, I love them insanely but they don’t influence my sports equipment purchases. I’m very curious to see what Tiger’s return does for Nike sales.

  2. Bill Surgenor
    Bill Surgenor April 8, 2010

    “spirit of invincibility” not invisibility. Damn you you spellchecker.

  3. Bob LeDrew
    Bob LeDrew April 8, 2010

    Wow. I totally disagree with you, Peter. I find the commercial to be abysmal. Why?
    #1: it seems wrong to me to put Earl Woods in the position of the rest of the world (or at least the rest of the world that cares about what happened with Tiger) via his words from beyond the grave.
    #2: Tiger’s response to the questions with the same impassivity and opacity that he’s brought to the public since (and probably before) the scandal broke.
    Why would Tiger OK this? What does this gain him? What does it say about Nike? What is the messaging here?
    The message seems to be that even when questioned by his mentor, his Pygmalion, and his greatest confidant, Tiger will remain stoic and impassive. Or is it that he’s still a child?

  4. openminded
    openminded April 8, 2010

    Who cares — he can screw who he wants and it is none of anyone’s business. He’s the best golfer around — beginning and end of story. The country needs to stay out of people’s bedrooms.

  5. Katie Fisher
    Katie Fisher April 8, 2010

    This spot definitely left me speechless. And unsettled. What does it say about Nike that they would choose to shine such a glaring light on “the Tiger situation” in association with their brand? Gutsy? Absolutely. Smart? Not so sure.

  6. AT Johnson
    AT Johnson April 8, 2010

    While I agree that “The state has no business in the bedrooms of the nation,” this issue isn’t about that. It’s not the fact that he screwed around; it’s the fact that he did it while pretending to be an honest, upstanding person and allowed the media and his fans to turn him into a role model. If you’re going to be a dog, then be a dog, but don’t pretend that you’re not and then get all hurt when your cover gets blown and people jump on you for it. Clearly, for years he’s put forth a persona that is false and has made millions doing so.
    Yes, he’s a great golfer, and yes he should be admired for his skill of that game. But his position as a role model wasn’t just about the golf; it was also about who people thought he was as a person.
    While this Nike ad isn’t pablum, I still don’t like it. Was the goal of the ad to make me feel sorry for him? To make me feel like he regrets his actions? Or, does he just regret getting caught? His father wasn’t exactly known as the perfect husband, so the ad really doesn’t say anything to me other than perhaps “like father, like son”.
    Part of being an adult is accepting consequences for your actions and decisions. It’s called accountability, and is something that is sorely lacking these days. This ad doesn’t make Tiger accountable; sadly, it will just make him more money.

  7. mose
    mose April 8, 2010

    Excellent points.
    If you remember the Toscani ads, these are the same discussions we had back then. Only with Bennetton they were not involved in a scandal (As for as I can remember) The just needed to break through. And boy did they ever.
    I keep sitting here saying – Boy folks have no idea what this Toscani thing is? Is it like a purse or a suit?
    Here are the ads …
    We have so many messages hitting us every day. It is almost impossible to break through the clutter. This will I believe.
    This is first and foremost an ad. There really are no rules in advertising. That is why most ads are abysmal. Cause we are scared to say what we want. Most ads are trite, irritating and ineffective.
    This ad – and someone Tweeted there are probably more coming – is in response to a very, very big issue that we saw, read about, followed and sold a billion news papers BTW – his car crash, infidelity, media-handling screw up, conjecture of what really happened, the jokes, press conference, loss of sponsors and friends.
    What this NIKE spot does is start TW back onto the golfer path vs the Britney Spears of sport I think. We needed a shock.
    Woods has says this is all private. Cool, and good luck with that. He is #1 most recognized sports figure, if not #1 most recognized figure on the planet. This cannot be private. So they, NIKE, at least have tackled the ugly bits head on. Good for them. That is why it is brave.
    The voice of his Dad I believe is not to be taken literally. I think it is supposed to be TW own conscience.
    Woods is taking his lumps here. He is saying like he did in the press conference I screwed up. My fault. I am sorry, I am going to learn and become a better person. If we didn’t care we would not have had it as the #1 news item for weeks. If we did not care the NIKE ads would still be him hittin golf balls. We care.
    I think it is very brave.
    Now, I am not a TW fan. Never have been. I dont own a single thing from NIKE. And I golf a lot. I do have a new respect for NIKE after this ad. Not sure it will translate into me buying stuff, but as for a result from an ad – it certainly worked on me.
    Am I the target group?

  8. Laurence Bernstein
    Laurence Bernstein April 8, 2010

    Peter, Peter, Peter.
    It is certainly courageous. Brave, too. But more than that, it is pointless and unnecessarily humiliating to a man who, for heaven’s sake, has been humiliated enough. Aside from making him look like a naughty adolescent being berated by his (admittedly sainted) father, it telegraphs his pathetic need to retain one endorsement deal. If he is willing to be so deeply insulted, paraded like a woman with a scarlet A on her forehead, for the benefit of selling shoes, he must really need the money.
    It is also a cynical demonstration of crass commercialism at its very worst. Is there no level to which the advertiser (Nike) will not stoop to sell a shoe? It is blasphemous and a lie: do you think for a moment that the sainted Papa Woods would spout poetic platitudes like these under the circumstances — nonsense, we know he would simply have given his son the whipping of his life. And even if he would have, he didn’t, because he’s dead! Or he would have cringed, like Tiger’s mother did when she was trotted out like so much stage-scenery for the first press conference.
    Did I mention that it’s creepy, too. Did Phil Knight get the Great Nike in the Sky to interview the dearly departed; or, more creepy still, did Dan Wieden simply resurrect the poor dude, as he has done so many times before.
    Other than that I think it’s a really well crafted piece of advertising.

  9. Erica
    Erica April 9, 2010

    Totally agree, Laurence.
    Mose – you call this “a very big issue” that “we” had as the #1 news item for weeks. That’s my trouble with this. It ISN’T a big issue, it’s a media creation. Had a well-timed natural disaster superceded the story, it may have fallen off the charts.
    Nike kept saying what a private matter it was UNTIL the Masters, then suddenly decided to make sure it stayed in the spotlight with this ad (more exposure = more ad dollars).
    Laurence is spot-on w/the scarlet letter in exchange for cash. The apologie$ are “sorry…for getting caught. Sorry if it makes you buy my advertiser’s product”. The motivation behind the endless humiliation is to ensure dollars are made, and that obviousness blows any brand manipulation Nike or Tiger are trying to do.
    Impetus aside I really like the ad. Dad’s voice also comes off like the voice of God.

  10. mose
    mose April 9, 2010

    This is why I like the Net! Great stuff!
    Erica, yes agreed. It was a media creation of immense proportions. But, is that not what we want? We want titillation, intrigue and scandal. If we didn’t we would have nothing but hog reports and wedding announcements.
    If it bleeds, it leads.
    Laurence yes definitely a scarlet letter. (But he would only wear that Sunday. )

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