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BizReport : Advertising archives : April 09, 2010

Will the new Nike/Tiger Woods commercial fly or flop?

When it comes to the consuming public, marketers know they have a fickle base. Consumers like a product, then don't like it. They advocate for a brand and then fall off the bandwagon. When it comes to customer loyalty it is a true tightrope for brands to walk. That tightrope has a lot of consumers - and marketers - tongues wagging about the new Nike/Tiger Woods commercial.

by Kristina Knight

As the Tiger Woods sex scandal broke last fall, many brands took a step back from the golfing superstar. This weekend marks his return to the spotlight - at least the golfing spotlight - as the Masters began at Augusta National. The Nike commercial features a stoic Tiger Woods looking intently into the camera as the narrator (the voice of Tiger's late father Earl Woods) questions him about his actions. Then a Nike swoosh appears as the golfer fades out.

You can watch the commercial here:

Why the big deal?

The AdWeek Media/Harris Poll found that 35% of American consumers have chosen not to purchase a brand because they found an ad 'distasteful', with another 22% saying they've considered boycotting but have, as yet, not done so.

So, back to the Tiger/Nike commercial. Does it work? Mark Johnson, CEO of Loyalty360 says yes.

"The brand Nike (Tiger) is stoic, open and tuned in. In essence, it is listening, which is the foundation of any true Loyalty program," said Johnson. "You need to actively engage and listen to your market constituencies. Nike is taking a bold stand with this commercial since this may upset and potentially alienate some of their core audience. Yet, like all of us, Tiger is deserving of a second chance. There is a definite lack of a sanguine demeanor in this piece. The brand is vulnerable, yet wants to engage, listen and win back the detractors. The only way to fix a problem is to admit that one exists, and find market driven and insightful consumer based responses to the issue."

Johnson went on to say that the questions posed to Tiger through the narration are all questions that brands should ask themselves throughout campaigns. The questions also show, according to Johnson, the brand's (both Nike and Tiger) willingness to change and grow.

"Loyalty requires a specific and detailed commitment over an extended period of time using all of the data, insight and market intelligence available to make effective communication decisions. It is not a short term panacea. Yet if you do not listen, do not learn, do not realize the brand is a representative of not only the company, but of a larger list of shareholders and stakeholders, you will cause significant damage to you brand in the short, and more importantly long term that will not be reparable."

For those reasons, says Johnson, the Nike/Tiger commercial works on a loyalty basis.

Will it fly with the public, though? That official verdict is still out, but early buzz is negative. From opinion pieces in local sports pages to social networks and blogs, the consuming public doesn't like the ad, with most saying they're tired of seeing/hearing about Tiger.

Tags: brand message, brand protection, loyalty marketing, loyalty360, Nike, Tiger Woods

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  • Canolli

    Are we missing something here? Nike's slogan is "Just do it." This ad says "Why didn't you stop and think first?" Confused? Would you want to dilute your rock-solid tried-and-true slogan? It says Nike as much as the swoosh does.

    I agree that Nike should hold onto Tiger. They sell sports excellence, not virtue.

    Johnson has it wrong. The ad, by the very nature of its being an "ad", lacks sincerity.

    As far as public acceptance is concerned, who cares? If Nike sees that the court of public opinion gives them the thumbs down, they will simply pull, or modify, the ad. But they will still have had the eyeballs because of all the curiosity and controversy.

  • exs120
  • Kim

    I like the ad. It is honest and shows where Tiger's head is at. He's done a lot of soul searching it looks like and I believe that he's truly trying to become a better person and someone he can look in the mirror at and respect. Here's to second chances and hoping Tiger can mend his broken family. We've all sinned and shouldn't cast stones at anyone... especially someone like Tiger who honestly is trying to redeem himself and turn his life around. Good for him and I hope the best for him and his beautiful family.



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