Thursday, June 15, 2006


The new NIKE ad coming out for Fathers Day features a tribute to Earl Woods and his son, golf phenom Tiger.

Last night fellow blogger within,without from
and I had a lively discussion about the whole concept.

Is it simply crass commercialism capitalizing on the recent passing of Earl or a remarkable opportunity for Tiger to tell the world how much he loved his dad?

I'll start with w/w's notion that it was a blatant exploitation and that NIKE was abusing the emotional content to sell sneakers.
That's all of the space that I am willing to give his misguided conspiracy theory nyeh! We're besties he can take it.

Now for the correct interpretation.
Let us for argument sake all agree on a few things.

A. Tiger Woods is a marketing dream. Handsome, multi ethnic, eloquent (for a professional athlete), and astonishingly superb at the game of golf (which btw is a
Game and not a Sport ) and doggonnit people like him.

B. Earl Woods is synonymous with the very idea of the
All American Dad who invested his life into a son that he adored.

Thanks to the aging Baby Boomers, Golf is now hugely popular and Tiger is the de facto generation crossing icon.
NIKE pays Tiger Millions of dollars because Tiger embodies everything positive about sports.
Of course they want to sell you sneakers.
Everybody wants to sell you something!
Nowadays I believe that we as consumers are savy enough to realise this. We can still choose to buy other brands.

I once was a writer and producer of TV commercials so I know something about creating a feel good spot. It is true many that homo escapeons adorn themselves with recognisable brand name articles believing (ugh?) that there is somehow a transference of identity and status associated with wearing a logo on your rear end, hat, sneakers, car, sunglasses, baby carriage, or anything else for that matter.

However, a 500 lb rapper, for instance (bad example), in all of the adidas getup and prerequisite bling, is obviously not mistaken for actually having attained the physical prowess or the financial wherewithall of iconic superstars like David Beckham, Wayne Gretzky, or Tiger Woods.

Kobe Bryant was once on this list but crossed the line with his extramarital meaderings. The ridiculous 400? carat ring that was given to his wife as a peace offering firmly destroyed his marketibility and imploded his credibilty.Now his star has fallen, but there are some very short attention spans in the world of sports fanatics.

In the precarious world of icons Tiger is still clean as whistle.

Lets face it, we all have labels attached to us but if you can somehow BRAND yourself then you've got it made in this world!
In conclusion, I believe that Tiger had the remarkable opportunity to pay tribute to his father and regardless of how many sneakers the NIKE ad sold he was just showing his gratitude and love for his dad.
Because he can.
Am I too naive?


  1. Yes.

    Snicker snicker. Wouldn't want to take up too much of your space...

  2. En garde!

    The point is, no matter how touching the story is about Tiger and his dad, this is an ad, nothing more, with the Nike swoosh written all over it.


  3. Oh YEAH!
    It is a love letter to wonderful Dad and a feel good message for all of us about how wonderful life can be....
    especially if your son makes $100 Million a year!

  4. reysputin3:42 p.m.

    good grief...
    i'm in w/w's camp on this one.

    if tiger wanted to show how much he loved his dad, why did nike have to foot the bill for it? why didn't tiger just go out and put an ad in the NYT like everyone else, with one of those crappy poems? okay, maybe he could afford a full page ad, or maybe the NYT would just give it to him cuz he's tiger, and maybe he could have hired a writer to come up with something original because he's too busy making money to do it himself. why not make a multi million dollar donation to a real charity instead of putting out more chocolate coated swill to remind us that people will do anything to sell an image?
    it's all bull, man.
    they spent hundreds of hours putting this together, making sure it would hit all the right notes, and not piss anyone off, except those of us who remember that nike rose to the top on the backs of asian children making running shoes....because nike could.

  5. reysputin,
    So if I am reading in between the lines here I think that what you are inferring, ever so subtley mind you, is that it is crass commercialism? I'm shocked by your assumption that NIKE may not have put aside corporate greed for the betterment of mankind!
    Are you sure?

  6. **that NIKE was abusing the emotional content to sell sneakers.

    thats all there is to a marketing campaign. Trust me cos I majored in Marketing for my Masters.

    yes u r naive matey :):)


  7. grumble10:49 p.m.

    Classic "Carrot and Stick" appeal, down here. On one hand, it
    is a tad gauche, on the other hand,
    imagine the royalty checks. It's not like his target audience does
    not understand what talks, versus
    what walks.

  8. keshi,
    et tu brutus?
    Am I the only Huckleberry in this world that can see how brilliantly Tiger pulled one over on the corporate giant????

    (PS I can't stifle my snickering much longer..somebody please, please take the bait.....)

  9. Nike is the only one pulling the wool over anyone's eyes here...

    If Nike was truly not doing this merely to sell and capitalize on Tiger's tale, they'd design and market a sneaker in his dad's honour and pour all the profit (after cost) back into those Asian places where they set up sweat shops, or into not for profit programs run by Tiger.


  10. If it wasnt abt sales only, why wud Nike make an AD out of it? Also they cud have just got any common person to do it, why Tiger? Think abt it :)


  11. grumblefish,
    OMG not you too!
    Well I guess that there isn't even one other person out there who still believes in Santa or the slogan "the customer is always right."
    I thought that surely the grumbly one would feel sorry for NIKE (hehehe) and we could chalk one up for the little guy.

    You are WITHIN
    putting distance of winning this argument. How much did you pay these people to comment??
    WITHOUT any help from all of the other Huckleberrys out there in the blogosphere I fear that I must ride this cart alone....

    Tiger represents the best in the common man, in all of us, in You and ME.
    If you can be the best in the world at anything and STILL be nice to your dad. man oh man. Wait a second I'm choking up's just so beautiful..and everybody is just so mean to Mr. NIKE...a little part of me died today..sob..where is the love...oh the humanity!

    You're all so bloody clever aren't you!

  12. Hey, Bud, we haven't even seen the ad yet (or I haven't). I might get choked up at it too.

    If Tiger and Earl had a fantastic relationship (beyond his dad pushing him or moulding him into becoming the world's best golfer and single most known "athlete"), if it was THE kind of father/son relationship we all hope to have with our fathers and with our sons, that's a fantastic story worth telling and paying tribute to and getting choked up about.

    But the two things -- father-son relationships and marketing the Nike brand -- are mutually exclusive. Just like in Sesame Street, two of these things don't go together.

  13. very expresive, very expressive no ur not naive, only very expressive.

  14. I suppose the point Nike are trying to make is that you can strive to achieve in your field and become successful and rich and famous and still love and feel emotionally attached to people, if you wear Nike.

    The implication of the advert is that father-son relationships and the Nike brand are not mutually exclusive. These things are connected, says the advert. So we see a guy on the street with a pushchair. He is wearing Nike sneakers. Ah, doting dad, we think.

    This is how advertising tells us what is right and wrong.

    Whether it is crass commercialism on the part of Nike or Tiger is, imo, beside the point.

  15. within,
    When you see the ad you will cry like a baby!

    You are a dear. Thank you.
    I must confess that I am pulling everyone's golf knickers here but so far no one has let them drop down around their ankles.

    Advertising is filling a huge GAP in our society. Homo escapeons need to know HOW to think about stuff because we're too busy tryin' to keep up with the Jones and the Woods to think about the WHY!

  16. Good post --- and both of you are right and wrong based on the individual.

    However, I think it's a win win situation for everyone. Every child dream of having a wonderful father, and seeing such a positive thing, knows that it's possible. With so much of the negative bull going on, it good to see something positive. And Tiger so loved his father.

  17. **Tiger represents the best in the common man..

    yes, but that very BEST is the part thats not common. Its that very BEST that many want to be and consider 'hot' in the ad :)



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