Friday Opinion: Nike Butchers Tiger Woods 16th Hole Moment
May 8, 2005: When Tiger Woods made that famous 16th hole shot, leaving the Nike golf ball hanging on the edge of the cup, swoosh visible for two long seconds before dropping in, the ad industry speculated wildly over over how Nike would turn this moment into a commercial. Well, three weeks passed, nothing was released and the industry gave up hope. In the meantime - actually, the day the shot occurred, Joe Jaffe, pointed out this perfect opportunity for Nike and created a spec spot on his own. Simply and without un-necessary editorializing, Jaffe's version illustrated the miraculous moment and ended quietly with "Just do it." It took a fantastic sporting moment, which needed no additional explanation, and commercialized it beautifully.
While all had given up hope Nike would take advantage of this moment, a Nike-created spot finally emerged a week or so ago. It was about as timely as that Bud Light Super Bowl spot making fun the previous year's Janet Jackson nipple slip. Did it really have to take that long for client and agency to get their shit together? The spot, using the same imagery from the famous day and interspersed with black screen/white type banal messaging, closes with a lame, inside joke about how Woods should have, at least, landed the ball in a way that made the Nike logo more visible.
The spot, compared to Jaffe's simple, but dead on concept, is one of the worst spots ever crafted, ruining what could have been an elegant and very strong message. It's depressingly typical agency work - a sad attempt at creativity when, plainly, the only creativity required was to acknowledge the magnitude of the moment. If ever there were a sporting moment involving a marketer that didn't need explanation, this, most certainly, is it. Instead, the spot force feeds its message, ramming a lame joke down people's throats as if they were idiots. Apparently, Nike and the agency felt the public would be too stupid to grasp the relationship between the moment and Nike's part in the moment. Nike and the agency should be ashamed of the work.
Joe is running a poll on his site to see what the industry thinks about this.