Will the New Nike Tiger Commercial Make the Cut?

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Even minutes after airing, blogs were blowing up and RSS feeds turning after watching Nike’s latest commercial for Tiger Woods.  At first glance, it is tough to understand the concept and idea being pitched by Nike.  It takes several views and some analysis for those watching to make sense of it all.  Obviously, this is geared more towards Tiger regaining his image than anything else.  Since Tiger is a personified version of Nike Golf, this spot is also about the brand sticking by their main man, and giving the consumer what they want; apologies and acceptance.

In my opinion, this whole Tiger Woods scandal reached new heights due to one underlying factor; Tiger is a robot.  Tiger kept his life so private and safe guarded that the general public really had no understanding of who he was as a person.  This left his fans to turn him into whatever they wanted him to be.  Since he was more or less perfect within the game of golf, his fans wanted to believe that he was perfect in all other manners.  Their was nothing telling fans otherwise.  We were able to craft Tiger into who we wanted; our innate longing for a perfect hero.

Going back to the commercial, Nike and the fine folks at Wieden+Kennedy did create a clever commercial that has people all over talking about the Tiger and Nike brand.  I’m no director, but the classic look and feel and straight on camera angle fit well with the tone of the message.  However, there are obvious flaws in this approach.

Narrating the commercial is Tiger’s late father, Earl Woods.  Even though you would maybe be able to infer this, those who are not fans of the game will have a tough time making out that the man speaking is Tiger’s father, unless otherwise noted.  Die hard Woods fans will also remember that Earl Woods was unfaithful to his wife, committing to some degree the same mistakes that Tiger made.  Should a father really be questioning an unfaithful son about his actions when he has done the same?  This element is crucial when putting together the puzzle of this commercial as it will generally be overlooked by the majority of viewers.

Some see this commercial as a brilliant ploy for Tiger.  Adweek’s Barbara Lippert is quoted with the following: “I think it’s totally brilliant for Tiger, because it does all the rehabilitation for him and he doesn’t have to say a word. He just has to stand there and look blank.”

That is one point I disagree on entirely.  In order for Tiger to rehabilitate his image, he needs to talk.  I’m not saying he should release everything about this situation and personal life in entirety, but at least crack a smile once in a while.  Tiger does nothing for his shattered image here.  It is easy to just sit there amidst powerful words from another memorable figure.  It is difficult to build yourself back up on your own.  The American public is generally very forgiving, especially of super stars.  In time, this scandal will be a thing of the past, but this commercial does nothing to help.  For Tiger to gain his public image back, he needs to convince many that what they wanted him to be all along, he ultimately is.  Nike can’t do this, Earl Woods can’t do this.  Only Tiger can do this for himself.

08. April 2010 by Alex Trevisan
Categories: Commercials, Sports | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

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