Nike’s Tiger Woods Ad: Too Soon?

Tiger Woods


Here’s one we didn’t see coming: The first Nike ad to feature Tiger Woods since his post-scandal return to golf aired tonight during the Masters. And it features the voice of Woods’ father. His dead father.

The ad was created by longtime Nike collaborator Wieden + Kennedy. It was shot on the golf course in Woods’ Windermere, Florida neighborhood. And we’re pretty sure the only direction given to Woods was this: “Look sad. Look really, really sad.” In case you can’t hear exactly what Earl Woods, who died in 2006, is saying, it’s this:

“Tiger, I am more prone to be inquisitive, to promote discussion. I want
to find out what your thinking was. I want to find out what your
feelings are. And did you learn anything?”

Nike was the only brand to stand firmly by Woods after his admitted infidelities and a stint in rehab had everyone from Gatorade to Accenture ditching him like a drive in a water hazard. But cashing in on his redemption using the unwitting voice of his father? It’s risky. If it’s successful, Nike is taking a hard line: They’re the only sponsor who can stick with Woods until (if!) his somber image is fully repaired. If this flops, it’s not likely that any new sponsors will be lining up at his door.

Anyway, we’d much rather have heard the voiceover of a hysterical Elin Woods on that fateful Thanksgiving night, as re-enacted in a recent South Park. That would have at least been more realistic.

Or maybe using deceased people in ads is a trend that we just haven’t warmed up to yet. Case in point: This DirecTV ad featuring a reanimated Chris Farley a full 12 years after his death.

What do you think about Earl making a cameo in his son Tiger’s ad?

Most Innovative Companies – 2010: Nike