Nike rolled out a new Tiger Woods ad on Wednesday, just in time for the Masters. And it’s creepy/brilliant.
The ad – the first to feature Tiger since the sex scandal involving the golfer broke last November – features a voiceover by Earl Woods, Tiger’s late father, from beyond the grave.
"I want to find out what your thinking was, I want to find out what your feelings are, and, did you learn anything?" Earl asks Tiger, who is shown in ghostly black-and-white staring blankly into the camera as flash bulbs go off.
Not surprisingly, it’s already stirred up controversy – landing on the cover of the Daily News and lighting up some morning talk shows in New York.
Nike – which stood by Tiger throughout the scandal – released this statement on the spot:
"We support Tiger and his family. As he returns to competitive golf, the ad addresses his time away from the game using the powerful words of his father."
Powerful words, sure. But it's also brilliant in its minimalism.
Here’s the thing about Nike ads. They’re never going to hurt the brand or swing it saleswise, one way or the other, beyond rabid sneaker heads. (When was the last time you rushed out to the store to buy Nike gear based solely on an ad?) They only serve to entertain, and to seep into the subconscious drip by drip, so when you are, say, browsing Dick’s you gravitate to the Swoosh without really thinking about why.
More than that, the ad addresses Tiger’s transgressions head on. They had to. Put it this way: if Nike had slapped together an ad promoting Tiger’s return ("Look! There's Tiger on the practice range! Oh, and there he is jogging and doing pull-ups!") without tackling his infidelity, it would be nothing but disingenuous.
And that, at some point, could’ve hurt the brand.
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