Nike/Tiger Redux: Say what you will about commercial but I wish I’d done it!

April 12, 2010

Tiger’s commercial: Bogey or Ace?

“It’s a fascinating, creepy document. I don’t know whether I love it or hate it,” said Steffan Postaer, chief creative officer at Euro RSCG, Chicago. “But I do wish I’d made it.”

-Yours Truly, Adage

The above quote comes hot off the presses, as they used to say, from today’s story in AdAge about the now-infamous “talking from the grave” TV commercial from Nike featuring Tiger Woods and the voice of his deceased father.

I actually made the above remark to reporter, Jeremy Mullman on Friday, half way through the golf tournament. Well, the Masters is over and Tiger Woods did not win it. Phil Mickelson did. Tiger came close. Fourth place. Shooting 11 under par. But the spot lives on, as does the buzz surrounding it. Jeremy’s latest story is but one of thousands being written and read about Tiger, the commercial, and everything in between.

On Friday I wrote about the spot, expanding on the above comment. That post garnered more readers and comments than just about anything I have ever written on Gods of Advertising.

The comments were, by turns, astute, bitter, cynical, thoughtful, and then some. But all of them had one thing in common: passion. You folks were fired up!

All because of one commercial. In the end, my comment to AdAge holds true. I do not know whether I love this commercial or hate it. But as was quoted, I do wish I’d made it. Fervently.

Can you imagine being the copywriter and/or art director who put this thing together? I’d be downright giddy. This spot is going to separate its creators from every other creative on the planet. Even if the commercial never wins a single prize (and whether it does remains to be seen), that commercial is now famous. Ridiculously famous. Everything that has been written and said about it, good and bad, is only fuel for a fire the likes of which Ad land has not seen is some time, if ever. As I said in my previous post, not since Crispin Porter & Bogusky introduced America to the subversive Burger King have we been so captivated by a TV campaign. (You could also make a case for CP&B’s Subservient Chicken but that was an Internet idea.) The Nike spot was just that: a spot. A lone 30-second TVC. (And weren’t those supposed to be passé?”) Granted the commercial has been viewed several million times online but you get my point. This thing is a phenomenon. Whether any of us likes it or not.

How do I feel about this commercial: What it says about Tiger, What it says about Nike, What it says about us? I’ve already covered that. As have many of you. I reckon the jury is still out. But as a copywriter, creative director and chief creative officer I’m absolutely certain of one thing. I wish I had done it.

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7 Responses to “Nike/Tiger Redux: Say what you will about commercial but I wish I’d done it!”

  1. Tad DeWree said

    Mark my words.

    This spot sunk the Tiger brand. Guaranteed.

    When is the Ad industry going to get it? PR is when any publicity is good publicity.
    Advertising is where-through targeted, well-timed, well crafted messaging, perceptions are changed–for the benefit of the brand.

    Nike has failed. Miserably. BS statistics will not correct this. That commercial made a once heralded athlete uninvited into many people’s homes.

    Just to clairify for our ad folks: Humble and repentant= good. Creepy=Bad.

    Take it from someone who lives in the heartland and not in the ivory towers of our industry.

    The spot stunk. It has damaged the brand and will be a “New Coke” cautionary tale
    for future generations.

    You’re forum is excellent, Steffan. All of us thank you for providing it.

  2. brian said

    I read that Tiger’s approval rating went up after the spot ran. So Tad, you may want to wait until the smoke clears before you make such a bold statement.

  3. Though I won’t be as categorical as Tad, I have to agree with him when he says “That commercial made a once heralded athlete uninvited into many people’s homes.”
    Moreover, I’m not at ease at all with his late father lecturing him from the hereafter. It goes too far by pulling this intimate string according to me.

    Anyway Steffan, even if I have to disagree, I understand why you wish you had done it 🙂

    • SRP said

      If all our efforts were as radioactive as that one spot we’d be superheroes of creativity. Yes, there would be naysayers and pundits despising us but the collateral damage comes with the territory!

      • Aren’t we already superheroes of creativity?
        All jokes aside, I agree with you on the territory point, meaning that as an advertiser I might (but it’s a gigantic “might”) have wished I have done it, but I wouldn’t be proud at all.

        Sometimes I wish I think like a computer, where everything is simply 0 or 1… but no, (fortunately) it doesn’t work like it!

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