Nike Sponsors Tiger Woods' Mea Culpa in 'Daddy Death Card' Ad
Last night, ESPN and The Golf Channel aired a new Nike commercial featuring Tiger Woods...and his dead father. The black and white commercial with Woods in Nike garb staring motionless into the camera is voiced by his late father, Earl Woods, who says, "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. Did you learn anything?"
Of the commercial and Woods, himself, Nike said in a statement, "We support Tiger and his family. As he returns to competitive golf, the ad addresses his time away from the game using the powerful words of his father."
On the Today Show today Donny Deutsch called the spot "stunningly brilliant." Deutsch went on to say, "It would be so easy for Nike to kind of just not advertise now, and then six months from now show him playing golf. It just basically walks right in and says this guy Tiger has transformed himself, he's reflective, obviously what he did was terribly wrong, but to have his father's voice as the conscience, is I think, brilliant."
Reactions to the spot are not all positive with many people calling it "strange," "creepy," reprehensible," "bizarre" and "haunting."
Of note, Tiger Woods' father allegedly cheated himself.
On one hand, the spot is, indeed, brilliant. It humanizes the man, attempts to show his remorse and lets Nike capitalize on the whole thing. On the other hand, the spot is a horrific exploitation of a private matter, publicly castigating the man. Or, worse yet, it attempts to excuse Woods' behavior. From a human perspective, it's a travesty. From a marketing standpoint, we'd have to say it's a coup. Why? Because every single news outlet is writing about it, every commentator is commenting on it, Barbara Lippert called it "polarizing" - which pretty much sums up reaction to the ad - and Jimmy Kimmel spoofed it. Many will love this ad. Many will hate it.
And let's not forget. A smart marketer loves a well greased controversy. From that perspective, we say smart move, Nike.
UPDATE: Here's the interview of Earl Woods from which the voiceover for this Tiger Woods commercial was taken.