Nike's New Tiger Ad: "Did You Learn Anything?"

Here’s Nike’s new ad — bound to be controversial.

The script of the commercial has Woods’ deceased father, Earl, in a voiceover saying:

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?

I’ll give credit to Nike for being provocative. Their commercials with Woods over the past 13 years have always been impressive. This one is simple, but already has the Internet buzzing. Is it in bad taste? Is it too soon? For Nike, I’m not sure it cares — Woods is so linked to the Nike Golf brand that pitching product is all that matters. And when it comes to Nike Golf — Woods is the product.

I find the commercial interesting, though I’m not sure it is because of the commercial itself. Rather, it is the concept and timing that intrigues me.


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Robert Thompson

A bestselling author and award-winning columnist, Robert Thompson has been writing about business and sports, and particularly golf, for almost two decades. His reporting and commentary on golf has appeared in Golf Magazine, the Globe and Mail, T&L Golf and many other media outlets. Currently Robert is a columnist with Global Golf Post, golf analyst for Global News and Shaw Communications, and Senior Writer to ScoreGolf. The Going for the Green blog was launched in 2004.

18 CommentsLeave a comment

  • “I think Tiger learned a lot from Earl including how to be a serial philanderer!”

    A line that was deleted from the commercial…”I want to know why I was never invited to your exploits!”

    Is this commercial “Too soon?…” Who knows. Nike has to be pleased with all the hype though.

  • I’m not surprised at Nike – their job is to sell product. Shock marketing is their forte.

    Mr Woods on the other hand … IMO, deep down, he has not changed one bit. He will do whatever it takes to make money …

    If he had any brains and was really sincere about all the recent apologies, he would turn down any artificial attempts to “restore the brand”. Actions speak louder than words! To me, allowing Nike’s marketers to use him and his late father are a step backwards in his public rehabilitation.

    He wants privacy, yet uses elements of that very privacy to pad his bank account. Hypocricy at its finest!

    One last point, as a 45 year old golfer I’m not the target for Nike’s marketing, but one thing is for sure, they will NOT be seeing a single penny of mine on their financial statements.

  • Is this part of his return to “core values” and Buddhism?

    Time to kill the Earl-as-mystic myth. He was a charming old bullshitter who conned too many people for too long.

    The ad is crass – for Tiger and Steinberg to approve this shows they are absolutely without shame.

  • RIP Earl. It’s a shame to use your late father to help a corporation and yourself make billions. What happened to Tiger’s private life being none of our business? Oh…that’s right…only when it’s good business for himself.

  • More bullsh*t from Woods and his camp. Insightful approach used by Nike and their ad agency.

  • A fascinating contrast between comments here relating to Nike/Tiger’s new commercial and the reception he received earlier today at Augusta. Can one cheer for Tiger on the course while despising him as a person off it? Does appreciation for his on course talents – like the obvious support shown him at the Masters – condone his flagrant adultery and public deception? How can one separate the two?

    I will be the first to admit that I have openly enjoyed the misery Tiger has brought upon himself, if only for a few fleeting months. I’ve always felt his “image” was bogus and without substance. Imagine if your young son or daughter idolized (that’s past tense for a reason) this jerk. How do you explain/defend his actions? How would you feel if you’d donated to the Tiger Woods Foundation or sent your kid through the First Tee program? Stupid, betrayed? Um, yeah that’s a start.

    I for one will continue to avoid anything with a “swoosh” logo on it, like I have since the mid ‘90’s. I hope many of his former fans will now do the same but I know otherwise. Two years from now nobody will be talking about Tiger’s “personal” life. He will resume his Godlike status on the PGA Tour (like he already hasn’t) and in the minds of golf fans the world over. And when he eclipses Jack’s record of 18 Majors we will crown him “the greatest to have played the game.” How sad it is that generations to come will know only of Nicklaus, Palmer, Player, and Watson as names the almighty Tiger rests on top of. The men who built this sport on integrity, sportsmanship, and honor. It turns my stomach just thinking about it.

  • I find it entertaing when people write in to tell us what they’re not going to do. Thanks for keeping everyone informed. The last guy and his hero worship is the best one so far… I’ll give you Jack but if even half the rumours about Arnie and his “girl in every port” are true he could give Woods two chicks a side and still win easily. Watson fooled around on his wife then left her for his current one and Player’s been accused of cheating on more than one occasion. Shocking, I know. Let’s forget the holier than thou nonsense, (if statistcs are even close more then 50% of the people on here have cheated on their spouse) stop glorifying the past and accept these people for what they are and were which is skilled players.

  • There is a difference between cheating on your spouse (Tiger not being the first or last golfer / high profile athlete / every day person to do so) and profiting to the tune of hundreds of million of dollars from a squeaky clean image intentionally being promoted by Tiger all the while screwing every porn star, cocktail waitress, and 21 year old neighbour in sight. The first is simply immoral, the latter is fraud.

    This is not “holier than thou nonsense”…Tiger defrauded the public to an unprecedented level by a star athlete.

  • Arnie has made more dough than anyone promoting a family man image that’s been in question for many, many years. Why is he not a fraud?

  • To a certain extent he is but the degree pales in comparison to Tiger Woods. Besides, what has Arnie done to promote a family man image? He is personable, talks to the gallery, looks people in the eye but where was the active promotion of him as a family man?

    Did he produce commercials accepting Fedex packages of golf stuff for his soon to be born child? Did he publish family pictures with a dog licking his face surrounded by his wife and kids? Did he make the then equivalent of almost $1B from the promotion of his image? I think not.

    Tiger went from being one of the highest ranking brands to one of the lowest in a span of months…all based on the disclosure of his behaviour versus his image. That is fraud.

  • Weekender: You seem like a reasonable person. It’s obvious you and I see this issue differently but that’s fine with me. You will never convince me that Arnold Palmer is any different than Tiger Woods (we just didn’t have the access during his prime) and it appears obvious that my powers of persuasion are not near strong enough to sway your view of Tiger. So be it. Let’s both remember that it’s just golf.

  • I agree with you Chester. Tiger is not the first to do what he did and he certainly won’t be the last. I doubt he said to himself “hmmmm I will create the squeeky clean image and make a billion!!” His talent on the golf course made him that money, no doubt about it.

    He was flawed as a person (time will tell what the future holds) and hopefully his past is his past. As of today he is showing us he is still a tremendous athlete and arguably the best golfer on the planet today. I am okay with that!

  • Chester:

    Fair enough on agreeing to disagree.

    However, while I understand your view that it is just golf, is it really? In my view, it is “just business” and while many would say ethics has no place in business (you know “buyer beware”, “As long as it is not illegal – it is OK” etc attitudes), I disagree.

    Ethics does have a place in business and as such, this issue with Tiger is not “just golf” but a business relationship he has/had with sponsors directly and the buying public indirectly. In that vein, what Tiger does beyond the golf course is relevant and worthy of public discourse and opinion….and you know mine…he defrauded the public…And I would not disagree on your assertion that others (Arnie et al) were similarly guilty….just to a much smaller degree. Tiger is the first athlete to make $1B!…most of it off endorsements…

  • Weekender: If Arnold Palmer and/or Tiger Woods were the two best insurance salespeople in the world you and I would not be having this discussion. The only reason we care is because the two of them happen to be very good at a game we are passionate about.

  • Chester:

    I disagree. If the two best insurance people in the world were able to influence my purchasing patterns (with their personal brand which turned out to be different than promoted), then I would be expressing my opinion about it. As I said above, this is not solely “just golf”.

  • Weekender, Chester be right and you be wrong! They have the influence because they play golf. No one would care if they Arnie and Tig sold insurance.

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