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.  

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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.