Tiger Woods’ precipitous slide from role model/global sporting icon to the most humbled cock-on-the-loose since Bill Clinton has been so well documented, you’d think Woods’ handlers would manage his re-entry into the marketplace with discretion and sensitivity. Sadly for the oversexed Woods, Nike’s latest commercial, featuring the voice of the golfer’s late father Earl, and timed to coincide with Tiger’s participation in this weekend’s Masters, is a baffling misstep for the company and pitchman alike. The San Jose Mercury News’ Tim Kawakami calls the spot, “one of the most cynical things I™ve ever seen”, while the New York Times’ Richard Sandomir simply finds the advertisement confusing, if not downright insulting.
Nike refused to offer context for Earl Woods™s words. When did he say it? What were the circumstances? He sounds disappointed in his son when he made these comments, but what had Tiger done? Earl, who died in 2006, couldn™t be addressing his son™s scandal.
How deep did Nike dig to find these paternal nuggets to justify their use in an ad that debuted less than 24 hours before Tiger teed off Thursday at the Masters?
And why did the son consent to having his father™s words repurposed to push not just a personal message, but also Nike Golf?
The father™s question (“did you learn anything?”) appears to be that serial philandering and addiction rehab can be positioned as a commodity ” and that you can roll it out in phases leading to the Nike amendment to the 12 steps: a TV commercial.