In defense of Tiger Woods’ Nike ad

I've heard it's creepy and exploitative. It's also marketing genius

Topics: Tiger Woods, Advertising,

In defense of Tiger Woods' Nike adTiger Woods in his controversial Nike ad.

Tiger’s Nike commercial has generated a lot of negative reaction, which makes sense: Negative reaction to Woods has become a commercial industry. Maybe I’m dead inside, but I thought it was a ballsy move. Shame on the sponsors who scurried away like frightened bunnies.

The 30-second black-and-white ad features a long shot of Tiger while we hear the voice of his late father, Earl: “Did you learn anything,” he asks. So Nike wants Earl to posthumously grant Tiger humanity. How can I be offended when every other beer commercial wants me to choose alcoholism over committed relationships? How can I be angry when Tiger’s former sponsor implied that shaving cream would be the genesis of my personal harem? Cynical as this campaign might be, there are worse messages than, “Your hero athlete is human.”

And for those of you so shocked by the posthumous cameo — those who wag fingers as though this is an act of necrophilia? You can say that Tiger is pimping his dead father, yell it loud if you’re offended. But didn’t Earl pimp Tiger’s image before the kid even had object permanence? They were both all-in on Tiger, the Icon. Hollow as that pursuit was, it was theirs. Earl may not be here to quibble over the methods, but you bet he would want in on framing this debate.

I’m not here to quibble over the methods either. I found the ad visually striking, and wholly engrossing. I felt shocked by the spot, which is more than I can say for the incessant parade of “cars driving down the winding street!” commercials. Credit the swoosh for stirring the pot. Are you not entertained?

Somehow I’m not enraged by a sneaker company’s attempt at redeeming a pitchman who should need no redemption, who is guilty of nothing but consensual sex that jeopardized a crappy marriage. Well, I do feel fury, but it’s directed toward our predilection for throwing people into stocks. But screw all those dense arguments about broad implications and societal subtext: The ad was sleek, let’s watch some damned golf.

Featured Slide Shows

  • Share on Twitter
  • Share on Facebook
  • 1 of 11
  • Close
  • Fullscreen
  • Thumbnails
    Burger King Japan

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Burger King's black cheeseburger: Made with squid ink and bamboo charcoal, arguably a symbol of meat's destructive effect on the planet. Only available in Japan.

    Elite Daily/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    McDonald's Black Burger: Because the laws of competition say that once Burger King introduces a black cheeseburger, it's only a matter of time before McDonald's follows suit. You still don't have to eat it.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Domino's Specialty Chicken: It's like regular pizza, except instead of a crust, there's fried chicken. The company's marketing officer calls it "one of the most creative, innovative menu items we have ever had” -- brain power put to good use.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    Arby's Meat Mountain: The viral off-menu product containing eight different types of meat that, on second read, was probably engineered by Arby's all along. Horrific, regardless.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    KFC'S ZINGER DOUBLE DOWN KING: A sandwich made by adding a burger patty to the infamous chicken-instead-of-buns creation can only be described using all caps. NO BUN ALL MEAT. Only available in South Korea.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Waffle Taco: It took two years for Taco Bell to develop this waffle folded in the shape of a taco, the stand-out star of its new breakfast menu.

    Michele Parente/Twitter

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Krispy Kreme Triple Cheeseburger: Only attendees at the San Diego County Fair were given the opportunity to taste the official version of this donut-hamburger-heart attack combo. The rest of America has reasonable odds of not dropping dead tomorrow.

    Taco Bell

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Taco Bell's Quesarito: A burrito wrapped in a quesadilla inside an enigma. Quarantined to one store in Oklahoma City.

    2014's fast food atrocities

    Boston Pizza's Pizza Cake: The people's choice winner of a Canadian pizza chain's contest whose real aim, we'd imagine, is to prove that there's no such thing as "too far." Currently in development.


    2014's fast food atrocities

    7-Eleven's Doritos Loaded: "For something decadent and artificial by design," wrote one impassioned reviewer, "it only tasted of the latter."

  • Recent Slide Shows



Comment Preview

Your name will appear as username ( settings | log out )

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href=""> <b> <em> <strong> <i> <blockquote>