Tag Archives: Tiger Woods

Nike’s New Tiger Woods Ad: Brilliantly Ill-Timed?

Many are talking about the new Nike commercial featuring Tiger Woods and the ghost-like voice of his father Earl Woods.

In this spot, Tiger stares at us with great sadness while his father says the following: “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. Did you learn anything?”

See the ad for yourself.

Many say they are revolted after seeing this spot. They feel Nike and Tiger are exploiting Earl Woods.

My view: the spot is brilliant… but also brilliantly ill-timed.

We all knew Tiger and his father were close. Earl Woods was Tiger’s most trusted advisor and mentor. To have his voice as Tiger’s conscience seems fitting.

The problem here lies in the timing and the context.

Tiger has done nothing yet to demonstrate that he’s transformed himself. He hasn’t proven a thing and nor has he done anything to earn back our respect and admiration.

The essence of a brand is found in the doing, not in the telling. Tell me you are remorseful all you want. Suggest to me that you have learned from your mistakes all you want. You won’t convince me.

However, if I can see through your actions that you’re truly in the midst of a transformation… if I can see great work by you on behalf of all those who benefit from your Foundation… if I can see that you are acting true to your message and your drive to live your life with integrity… then, and only then, I will begin to believe that you have learned something.

The words don’t match the message and the reality in this Nike spot.

But with more time, Tiger might indeed match his actions to his father’s powerful words. And then we wouldn’t necessarily need to have a remorseful shot of Tiger Woods staring back at us. Instead, we might see a different Tiger Woods, a humble giant in world of golf, a person just like any one of us who is susceptible to mistakes, who has, to paraphrase his own words, started to show that he has learned how to help himself so he can help other people.

Perhaps Nike has a grand plan behind this spot? Perhaps this spot is going to set the tone for follow-up spots? That would make more sense. But in today’s context, where Tiger has yet to do anything substantial to earn back our respect and trust, this spot is difficult to embrace wholeheartedly.

What do you think? Do you find this spot reprehensible or genius? Does it touch you or disgust you? Would Nike have been better advised to hold off on a spot like this until Tiger has had a chance to walk his talk?

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Winnie the Pooh on Rebuilding Brands

Yes, I find brand lessons in everything, including Winnie the Pooh.

Recently, I had a lot of fun rediscovering the charm of this cuddly bear character with my two-year old daughter.

We watched The Wishing Bear from The New Adventures of Winnie the Pooh series. In this particular episode, Pooh thinks he has wished Christopher Robin’s wishing star out of the sky. Feeling terrible about losing the star and afraid of disappointing Christopher Robin, he dresses up like a star.

Just before Pooh is catapulted into the night sky by a tree branch, with Tigger’s help, a distressed Piglet asks Pooh: “Oh Pooh, why must you go so very up?”

“Because otherwise I’ll let Christopher Robin down,” replied Pooh.

The words that caught my attention were “so very up.”

Isn’t that the truth? When a brand disappoints and has sunk to a low point, much like a Toyota or a Tiger Woods, the only way back is to aim high and go above and beyond to rebuild trust.

That means doing more, a lot more. You have to go “so very up” to fight negative perceptions and restore confidence and trust.

In the future, Toyota must do a lot more to reinforce that their name is indeed synonymous with quality. Based on all we know from the past, this is not a low quality, dangerous brand. Toyota has always led in the quality and reliability category.

But perception is everything. And so now Toyota must aim even higher. Exceeding expectations is tough enough. Exceeding the exceed expectations measure is even tougher.

Tiger Woods, for his part, must do a lot more to demonstrate that he’s worthy of respect. His code of conduct must be pristine, and he must, in my view at least, be even more accessible and transparent than ever before. If he wants people to believe in him again, then he must show them the real Tiger Woods and not just the brand or persona in front of Tiger Woods.

It’s not business as usual for brands that need to recover and rebuild from a crisis. When you’ve let consumers and fans down, “so very up” is your new destination point.

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Should Nike Drop Tiger?

To drop him or not to drop him? That is the question sponsors like Nike are facing in the ongoing drama of the Tiger Woods scandal.

I was disappointed to hear about Tiger Woods’ transgressions. His behavior didn’t match with my image of him, of what I had come to expect from him.

And without a doubt, I’m not the only one who feels let down! Tiger has disappointed hundreds of thousands of fans, supporter and partners. He’s promised to redeem himself, but certainly those efforts will take time.

Accenture has chosen to drop Tiger.

Nike, seemingly, is preparing to stand by him. Indeed, the chairman and co-founder of Nike, Phil Knight, claims Tiger’s infidelity won’t irreparably harm the golfer’s career. He says the scandal surrounding Tiger will ultimately be seen as “a minor blip” in his storied career.

I think Peter Himler’s comments provide insight into why Accenture and Nike have taken different paths. In essence, Accenture was far too wrapped up in Tiger. He was their one guy. Nike, on the other hand, has a whole stable of athletes tied to their brand. They can afford, Himler says, to take a wait-and-see approach.

At the same time, Nike golf = Tiger! Nike’s built their golf franchise around him and through him. So no doubt the franchise has a lot riding on how this story develops from where we are today.

What do you think? Should Nike drop Tiger or wait and see if the Tiger brand can withstand and recover from its self-inflicted tarnishing?

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