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Why The Nike Tiger Woods Ad Is So Good

Tiger Woods Nike Golf Ad Featuring Earl WoodsThis morning I watched the new spot from Nike that features Tiger Woods, just in time for his return to golf at The Masters. When I first viewed it, the page had already been viewed 600k+ times on YouTube. As of this writing, it’s over 1.1MM; it’s obviously getting a lot of attention. I’ve been thinking about this video all day, going back and forth about how I feel about it.  The video is embedded below, and it’s worth watching.  Let me summarize what you see:

It’s a :30 spot in black and white, with Tiger Woods standing still.  He says nothing.  He blinks.  The voice over is of his father, Earl Woods, who passed away in 2006. He is talking to his son, and says, “Tiger…I am more prone to be inquisitive; to promote discussion.  I want to find out what your thinking was, I want to find out what your feelings are, and…did you learn anything?” It flashes to a black background and the simple, iconic Nike swoosh.

That’s it. The whole ad.

As I’ve considered this spot, I’ve heard and read many other opinions. Donny Deutsch went on the Today Show to discuss it.  The full video is here, but the bottom line is that he likes it. Although I didn’t watch The View this morning (nor will I ever, unless threatened with serious physical harm), I did (unfortunately) watch their opinion of the spot online.  You can see it here. Barbara Walters asks, “will this make you buy Nike?”  With no real response, she asks it again.  Although Ms. Walters is great at many things, I think it’s clear she has never done any substantial brand marketing.  TV commercials are not a call to action to go out and buy, that’s what coupons are for.  How many TV commercials or online videos have you seen that have incited you to purchase something? It’s possible, but it isn’t likely.

This spot is about building brand power, and I think Nike has a home run with this spot. No, the video itself will not make a person turn off the computer (or the TV), drive to the store and buy something from Nike.  But what it will do in many people is stir an emotion.  Not the same emotion, it will be different in each person, but when you are standing at your local sporting goods store with black Adidas shorts to your left and black Nike shorts to your right, you will likely be driven to purchase either by subconsciously weighing price value or emotion.  You may not associate this spot with your Nike purchase decision (good brand building isn’t tied back to any one event) but chances are, you’ll go with the Nike shorts because they stir some sort of visceral reaction within you, even if it’s not entirely positive.

I could speculate about why Nike went this direction, or why Tiger approved it.  I have heard the very angry admonish this spot, and the very forgiving say that it is the perfect mood for his return to sports.  I could speculate that Nike has put themselves in a fatherly position by pushing creative of this nature, but I don’t know that for sure.

What I do know is this: I’ve been thinking about the Tiger Woods Nike video all day. And that, my friends, is effective advertising.

(video embedded above, go to original article if you can’t see it)

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By Matt Singley

Personal: husband to Alison, father to four amazing kids. I used to live a fast but enjoyable life in Los Angeles, now I have chickens on acreage in Charlotte, North Carolina. Just a bit different. I'm an advocate for cycling as much as you can and eating as cleanly as you can afford. Professional: I'm the CEO of Singley + Mackie, a creative digital agency that serves well-known lifestyle and entertainment companies around the world. Clients include Microsoft, Samsung, Hulu, YP and others. If you want to find the more-professional me, go to http://singleymackie.com