Nike Butchers Tiger Woods 16th Hole Moment

Money Shot, Butchered

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.

by Steve Hall    May- 8-05   Click to Comment   
Topic: Brands, Commercials, Opinion   

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What's more, adding titles completely destroys both shots aesthetically ("both shots" meaning the "golf shot" and the "camera shot"). What made both shots work was the fact that it was a long take and we could see that there was nothing staged about any of it. As a series of seperate shots there's nothing particularly remarkable about what's happening. If we hadn't already seen the uncut version, we make well assume that these we a collection of shots cut together to seem remarkable. Basically, the key to the golf shot, which is the form of the camera shot, is hacked to crap in this advertisement. Sigh.

Posted by: Matt on May 9, 2005 1:04 AM

Why didn't Nike say. "You too can do this, even with a Nike?" Wouldn't have been any more stupid than saying nothing. I'll bet it make Tiger feel proud to be associated with Nike. Ray

Posted by: Ray Trueblood on May 9, 2005 10:11 AM

I doubt that's from Wieden+Kennedy/Portland.

Posted by: Bryan on May 9, 2005 12:50 PM

The reason that Nike delayed was due to fact that they did not have the rights to use the footage. (See interview where Nike's head of Golf claims he was on the phone to W+K 1 minute after the shot).

However - with three weeks - I agree with the previous comments - surely they could have come up with something better than that... Definitely not W+K work if you ask me.

Posted by: sports guru on May 9, 2005 2:42 PM

My take is that the three weeks didn't hurt as much as a less than stellar spot.

Delaying 3 weeks could have been a good way to prolonging the hype since the news media and others played it up on Nike's behalf the two weeks following that great shot.

If the spot had been spectacular it would start the talking all over again. Unfortunately - it didn't work out that way.

Posted by: Bruce DeBoer on May 9, 2005 5:34 PM