Branding & Design
Back To Trending

Should Brands Capitalize on Tiger’s “Transgressions”? Nike’s Answer: Just Do It

If you’ve seen Nike’s latest commercial featuring Tiger Woods, it’s quite different from their typical golf-themed action shots of Tiger sinking a putt and following it with his well-known victory fist pump. But Nike’s new ad with Tiger, which has proven to be somewhat controversial, just might stop you and make you think.

The ad features a simple, black-and-white shot of Tiger glaring into the camera with a sober expression on his face. A voice comes over, which is the voice of his late father Earl Woods. In a solemn tone he addresses Tiger. At one point, Earl Woods says, “I want to find out what your thinking was. I want to find out what your feelings are, and did you learn anything.” Tiger never answers him; he only continues to stare, leaving the audience hanging.

But how could Tiger’s late father, who passed away in May of 2006, have addressed Tiger about his regretted actions and recent scandal? This is no ghost story. The audio is actually from a past interview from a DVD collection released in 2004 about Tiger’s life. In context, Earl Woods was describing himself in comparison to his wife Kultida.

So is Nike trying to resonate at a deeper level with their audience? Or is it just a publicity stunt to get people talking about Nike? Even if the ad doesn’t drive you to go buy a pair of Nike shoes, it definitely has put their recognized brand under a hot spotlight. It has even inspired quite a few parodies and spoofs of the commercial. This stunt might make other brands think twice about the effectiveness of shock value and creating a new controversy. Is all the attention and buzz worth risking the reputation of your brand? Clearly Nike is confident that it is worth taking that chance.

So what do you think? Did Nike go too far by using the out-of-context words of the late Earl Woods? Or is all fair in love, war, and advertisements?

~ Kelly

Published on: April 9, 2010