April 8, 2010

So, something is going on with Tiger Woods today

I've kind of kept Tiger Woods out of this blog thus far, with just one post addressing his privacy issues, but today the world's greatest golfer will simply not be ignored.  With a 1:42pm tee-off time at Augusta National, in the first golf major of the year, Tiger makes his return to competitive golf.  And, as usual, the media is all over it (ESPN, covering the Masters live on the network for the first time, must be counting their lucky stars).

But even if all of this media hoopla isn't enough, Nike and Tiger Woods went ahead and upped the ante by releasing a new commercial featuring the voice of Tiger's father, Earl Woods.  In the spot, Tiger faces the camera while his late father narrates, among other things, "I want to find out what your thinking was, I want to find out what your feelings are, and did you learn anything?"

Wow.  Nike always seems to know how to make an impact, but is this in bad taste?  While it might work to help establish a discourse of sympathy by having Tiger just stare at the camera without saying anything, is it right to play, as some have called, the Dad card?

Obviously, it makes a lot of sense for Nike to help rehabilitate their most prized asset.  And to folks who say, "this doesn't make me want to run out and buy a Nike product," well, how many Nike commercials actually do that?  Many of their ads are personality driven concept ads, like this Lance Armstrong "Magnet" spot, or this Briscoe High football ad, or this crazy Masks ad, or this infant Troy Polamalu and LaDainian Tomlinson ad.  I could go on and on.  Is it less ethical than this...?

Anyway, what do we make of this ad?  Is it simply part of the Tiger rehabilitation project?  Is it in bad taste?  Whose idea was it?  Why is it in black and white? What is with the newsreel cut-type style at the very end of the ad? And where did they get that Earl Woods audio?

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