I am sure by now most of us have seen the new Nike commercial with Tiger Woods – 30 seconds of Tiger looking somewhat contrite into the camera while his deceased father’s words pipe down from somewhere – heaven? 

Earl’s voice reassuringly speaks to his son; “I want to find out what your thinking was….. I want to find out what your feelings are and did you learn anything”

I don’t know about everyone else but I keep waiting for Tiger to respond – “Yeah, I learned it sucks to get caught!” 

Aside from being tacky, I don’t believe the message – it’s not authentic.  Is this what big bucks with Wieden + Kennedy buys you?  Are they really trying to re-brand Tiger as someone who is sorry for being a philanderer and that somehow has “learned his lesson” and won’t do it again?  Please, do we look that stupid?

I have written about Tiger before – back in December when he posted his “I want privacy” plea on his website.  My contention then was that he would need to re-brand but that he didn’t get to do it in private.  I still believe Tiger needs re-branding.  But in my humble opinion he needs a NEW brand – I don’t want to be asked to believe that a double-digit mistress count was a tiny life hiccup and that he is restored to his family-man golf-deity status.

So, I can trash the new Nike creative ‘til the cows come home but what good is that if I don’t offer up a solution?  What brand would we believe?  I hearken back to a much more believable Nike re-branding of Charles Barkley, “I am not a role model”.  In thirty odd seconds Charles reminds us that he is paid to ‘wreak havoc’ on the basketball court NOT to raise our children.  I respect that brand– it’s authentic, sustainable and powerful.  Nicely done, W+K. 

And, while Nike hasn’t come knocking on my door for creative in the Tiger Woods’ re-branding mission, I will kindly offer up my idea, gratis: Tiger = golf and Nike sells golf balls, right?  So, why not take a fun ‘in your face, Tiger accepts who he is and many wish they could have the talent, fame, money and let’s face it, women he had’ approach.

I suggest to you and Nike, the following:

Maybe this is EXACTLY what keeps Nike from calling, who knows?  At least I get to share my absurd, ballsy thoughts in my MarketingSmack.  More Smack can be found on www.marketingsmack.wordpress.com or visit us at www.summitstrategypartners.com.

Note: This ad creation is a Jack Perez only special – neither approval nor endorsement was received from either Tiger Woods or Nike.  

Go Ask Lisa.

January 19, 2010

While I want to say I’m above it all, not enticed by the opportunities so abundantly provided to us by entertainers and politicians, I am not.  Today’s blog was inspired from a phone call I had last week with a dear childhood friend while on my way to a networking event.  She was actually delivering a message from her mother “You need to blog about your Lisa Druck story.” 

Who is Lisa Druck and why is she someone I should blog about?

John Edward’s dalliance, Rielle Hunter or Lisa as we fellow elementary school classmates called her, was in my fourth grade class at Pine Crest Preparatory in Fort Lauderdale, Florida.  She was super cool, wore make-up and didn’t succumb to the traditional white blouse under the forest green jumper uniform, so we all knew she wore a bra because we could sneak peak it from the side.  I coveted her brand – I wanted to be her.

I remember distinctly that for our big fourth grade book report assignment, Lisa read and discussed with poise and a sophisticated flair “Go Ask Alice” – a far cry from my “Harriet the Spy”. Her report clearly showcased a ‘naughty’ book that fascinated me, so I requested that my mom find, check-out and bring me a copy of it from the high school library, since any efforts to locate it in my lower school library were futile.

My mom, to whom English is a second language, dutifully sought out the book and upon check-out was questioned by her counterpart librarian as to who was going to read the book.  Needless to say, I never got my pudgy, fourth-grader paws on it.  It didn’t stop there.

“You MAY NOT be friends with Lisa Druck” – even in a heavy Spanish-laden accent, the message was crystal clear.

Can a nine year old develop a personal brand or did circumstances create it for her?  Did Lisa turn Rielle just continue to show up in the way that aligned with how she was perceived?

Everyone and every company has a brand; in some cases – and I bet it happens more often than not – that brand isn’t strategically constructed and managed.  The problem is that brands are enduring; even the bad ones.  Take Microsoft for instance; they’re well known for being stodgy and not innovative.  I doubt they like that.  I know they try hard to get us to believe something else.  Is that possible?  Can you re-invent a brand? 

With enough money, talent and perseverance you can.  Look at Target’s rise from K-Mart-type discount store status in the late 90’s and Chrysler’s recent logo re-fresh and “My Name is Ram” campaign to re-introduce the brand to truck lovers. But, it takes money and diligence.

And, while for some name changes – either company or personal – are attempted often in the hopes of brand resurrection, all bets are off if you don’t strategically develop and consistently maintain it.

MarketingSmack by any other name is still Jack’s blog: www.marketingsmack.wordpress.com or visit us at www.summitstrategypartners.com.

Sticks and Stones…….

December 28, 2009

Two weeks ago either bravery or some unidentified ingredient in my eggnog let me throw caution to the wind and I actually took a definitive ‘personal’ stance in my weekly MarketingSmack blog.  I don’t typically write about public figures nor do I usually disclose such personal criticism of others. Given I believe the majority of my readers are close friends that share similar beliefs, I thought it safe – a couple of more sips of that eggnog and I posted these thoughts on a few discussion groups in LinkedIn.

Hornets’ nest.

The first email notification of: “New comment on “Can You Camouflage a Tiger? – I am insulted that Tiger thinks it is ok to ask for privacy….” brought an instant sense of exhilaration.  I had written something worthy of discussion – something timely and relevant.  I clicked on ‘go to full discussion’ believing I would see adulation, sycophancy – my eyes devouring the wisdom and insight from fellow LinkedIn Group members – the likes of: LinkingRaleighNC, RTPconnect and Triangle Networking Group.

Ouch.

Dozens of people began to add comments; at first directed at me – most of them not in agreement, to put it mildly and then; at each other.  What I found interesting here is that I KNOW that it is critical to the world of branding – both company/product/service and individual – to take a stance; have an opinion; define clearly who you are and who you are not and confidently broadcast it to your audience with polite relentlessness.  I was somewhat surprised when upon reading the first “I don’t agree with Jack” comment – my initial reaction was defensive somewhat akin to the way a Junior high school student feels when discovering he’s the one with bad breath via a Slam Book.

On the one hand – people were talking about me….on the other hand – people weren’t seeing it my way…… What I learned from this experience is that there is a key component to the branding process that I have been leaving out. 

Bravery.

I spend a great deal of time helping companies and individuals brand themselves.  Countless hours spent on key executive interviews, customer focus groups, competitor reviews, market research etc… Helping them to create a unique position and message that states who and what they are – but in that same instant it states who and what they are NOT.  You have to be brave to take a stance – a stance that you know will resonate with some (and you hope that the some is large enough for you to be successful) but in this day of transparency you’ll hear from those that DON’T too.

Suffice it to say that as the conversations over my Tiger Woods’ blog continued over the last two weeks I watched the score board fluctuate ala basketball style….Jack 0  Nay Sayers 2……. Jack 4 Nay Sayers 2….. And so on and so on.  Not sure how the final tally looked and what I realize is that it doesn’t matter – I won.  I took a position, made it public, generated a healthy debate and made my personal/professional brand that much clearer.

The brave world of MarketingSmack can be found on: www.marketingsmack.wordpress.com or visit us at www.summitstrategypartners.com.

Can You Camouflage a Tiger?

December 14, 2009

Tiger Woods requests privacy, twice to be exact, in his public ‘apology’ posted on his website on Friday.  Do you get to do that when you’ve spent a good portion of your life vying for public attention?  Having built one of the most, if not the most, visible brands in the world of sports – definitely the world of golf – Tiger Woods has broken his ‘brand promise’ to us and now wants ‘privacy’.

Did Tylenol request ‘privacy’ in 1982 when their household trusted pain reliever killed seven people in Chicago?  

Did Magic ask for us to ‘look the other’ way in 1991 when he admitted to having the HIV virus?

History is very clear as to how each of those entities handled their breach of their brand promise to the world.  What is Tiger going to do?  At the end of the day, the issue isn’t whether or not he was ‘unfaithful’ – we are so used to infidelity it doesn’t really shock us any longer – much less surprise.  What we aren’t ok with is being actively lied to, manipulated or made to feel foolish. 

Tiger Woods and those in his employment have spent countless days and dollars to create an image. Back in 2003, Steinberg, Wood’s agent, told a Wharton audience that representing a star in an individual sport is much like managing a consumer brand. “Coca-Cola, Kodak, Nike – those are three of the largest international brands. Tiger Woods is on a par with them. You can’t walk down a street in Kuala Lumpur or New Zealand and say, ‘Tiger Woods,’ and not get a response.

If that’s so – you can’t have it both ways.

Earlier this year there was fear that Wood’s knee injury would negatively impact the recall factor for his brand empire: Nike, General Motors, American Express, Accenture et al. – laughable today in light of the parade of mistresses.  There is brand fallout.  Late night TV is notorious for wreaking havoc on the weak – exhibited public frailty no matter how insignificant is fodder for the one-liners.  BrandWeek discloses that; “On average, about 6% of viewers recalling a brand mention in a late night show report a negative opinion. In the case of Tiger Woods’ sponsors, the negative shift was 11%.”

I am insulted that Tiger thinks it is ok to ask for privacy.  He doesn’t get to – in my opinion.  Those bright stripes and glossy coat are smeared with …., well this is a g-rated blog, the only way to regain any of that luster is to re-build his personal brand with integrity – not just for his wife and children – but for the millions he betrayed. 

In the meantime, I’ll continue my quest for flamboyant visibility of the MarketingSmack.  Read it at www.marketingsmack.wordpress.com or visit us at www.summitstrategypartners.com.