Even Advertising Insiders Slam Tiger's Nike Ad

Maybe next time leave the deceased relatives out of it

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Do advertising executives know something the rest of us don't? It would seem so. Today, Nike began airing its first Tiger Woods advertisement since the sex scandal broke. The 30-second spot is simple in its artistry and rather bold in its messaging. Filmed in black-and-white, a somber-looking Woods stares into the camera while his deceased father's voice intones "Did you learn anything?" Many commentators found it off-putting. But at least one ad executive thinks it's marketing gold.

  • This Is Tacky, writes Tracee Hamilton at The Washington Post: "If Woods is feeling real, true shame -- not regret that he got caught, not regret that his golf game has suffered, but real sorrow over what he's done to his family -- then he might be able to fix the mess he's made of his life. But his shame is his; it shouldn't be used to sell golf shirts. What's next, a 30-second video clip of Elin yelling at him for forgetting to take out the trash?"
  • 'Shame on Nike,' writes marketing analyst Adam Hanft (also quoted at the New York Times): "It's deeply manipulative because it taps into everyone's personal history of letting a parent down, and connects that desperate need for forgiveness to Tiger. He's channeling a dead parent in a way that millions would like to do."
  • Exploits the Deceased, writes Kyle Koster at The Chicago Sun-Times: "The spot insults our intelligence. I mean, if you're truly trying to be repentant and change, wouldn't you do it more quietly? Not in front of millions of TV viewers, using your dead father's voiceover in a commercial peddling your product."
  • Ad Age Readers Slam It  Responding to a very straight-faced report by Jeremy Mullman at leading industry site Advertising Age, the majority of readers bash the ad, calling it "sick" and "distasteful." One reader points out, however, that the negative reaction is successful in at least one sense: "I'm assuming just about everyone posting on this wall has some knowledge or interest in this industry, so I'll spare us all the lecture and simply remind everyone that in a world of excessive clutter, getting attention is becoming increasingly difficult. The fact that there are over 30 of us that have commented on this in less than 24 hours proves that it has started a conversation, which is undoubtedly what the goal of this spot was."
  • ...But Perfect Messaging, applauds Donny Deutsch, an advertising executive speaking on the Today Show: "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."

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.