Nike CEO Calls Tiger Woods Ad "Polarizing" But Authentic

Nike's unwavering support of Tiger Woods in the wake of his scandalous affairs was not entirely surprising, the company has a track record for sticking with athletes through troubled times. But even some of Woods' most ardent fans were taken aback by the first post-scandal TV commercial that aired during the Masters. Created by longtime Nike collaborators Wieden + Kennedy, the spot shows Woods with a solemn face as the voice of his deceased father Earl speaks in voice over. Here, Nike's CEO Mark Parker explains the reasoning behind the ad, and says it is "one of the most polarizing ads I think that we've had out in awhile."

Parker was one of the guests at Fast Company's Innovation Uncensored conference held on April 21, 2010, in New York City. For those who didn't score a ticket to the sold-out event, we're offering highlights. More to come tomorrow.

Discuss the event and submit questions to the speakers at the Innovation Uncensored Facebook page.

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11 Comments

  • brian Allman

    What is authentic here is Nike's uncanny knack to make money on a flawed character by using another flawed character like Tiger's father. My tarnished view of Nike is not only for their continued support of the Tiger incident (let's add BEN to this list as well) but for their making a commercial to comment on it for all of us consumers of the world to feel sorry about the human condition... I'm sorry, if you sell a personality that is referred to as a role model, that role model had best hold up to the standards they set!

  • brian Allman

    What is authentic here is Nike's uncanny knack to make money on a flawed character by using another flawed character like Tiger's father. My tarnished view of Nike is not only for their continued support of the Tiger incident (let's add BEN to this list as well) but for their making a commercial to comment on it for all of us consumers of the world to feel sorry about the human condition... I'm sorry, if you sell a personality that is referred to as a role model, that role model had best hold up to the standards they set!

  • CD Banning

    To use his dead father's voice was completely tacky! A womanizer validating a womanizer. They give men a bad image.

  • Ingrid Vercruyssen

    I have to agree with most: 100% more pathetic then authentic! Just goes to show how weak the pool of role model really is!
    Is that really supposed to make me run to the store and buy Nike? This add reeks of desperation.
    But hey, I guess Tiger and Nike still make their money, so we should be thrilled right?

  • brian Allman

    What is authentic here is Nike's uncanny knack to make money on a flawed character by using another flawed character like Tiger's father. My tarnished view of Nike is not only for their continued support of the Tiger incident (let's add BEN to this list as well) but for their making a commercial to comment on it for all of us consumers of the world to feel sorry about the human condition... I'm sorry, if you sell a personality that is referred to as a role model, that role model had best hold up to the standards they set!

  • Chris Reich

    The "ad" is more pathetic than authentic. Forgive his faults be keep in the pain he's caused and the damage to his children.

    Chris Reich
    www.TeachU.com

  • Claire Ratushny

    Just one comment/question: how can anyone who lies and deceives be considered "authentic"?

  • benedict paramanand

    It's really a choice between holding a moral high ground or empathising with a human who can have failings. All humans have some failings/weak spots and the difference is how they handle it. Tiger has sought forgiveness and this will give him and the brand he endorses a human face. I like Nike's courage unlike the others brands he was close to. If one were to dig deep at the brands which ran away, enough muck can be unearthed. They are like the Vatican teaching high values while covering up misdeeds of the priests.

  • Alice Korngold

    I have been a huge fan and booster of Nike Foundation, and Maria Eitel's groundbreaking work and global leadership with The Girl Effect. I simply can't get my mind around Nike's support for Tiger Woods as their brand hero, along with the brand of The Girl Effect. Woods is an unfortunate choice for Nike.

  • Justin Benson

    My biggest issue with it is that by several accounts Earl was a quite the womanizer. If it turns out to be true it should be Earl apologizing from beyond vs the other way around

  • Chris Reich

    I prefer heroes with character. Tiger is a sad, empty guy. He plays golf well. Is he the best face to put on a product? Probably not. But he can sell shoes and most people won't really care that Tiger has emotional problems.

    It's only advertising. Nike sells cheaply made imported shoes so I suppose it only matters if Tiger contributes to sales or not. And he does.

    When I think of words I would associate with Nike, character, ethics or integrity are not among them. I think shoes, imported, thugs, over-priced and "just do it."

    And since "just do it" is the Nike mantra, I don't suppose we should make much fuss about who carries the banner.

    Visit Portland. Go to the Nike shrine and read labels. That's all I needed to implant a nausea in my system every time I pause to think about Nike.

    Chris Reich
    www.TeachU.com