This is an interesting spot from Nike. I’ll come straight out and say, I really like it. But why? And what is saying about the brand?

I believe the Big Idea is to humanise Tiger. To bring focus away from his errors and the polished untouchable he appeared as before.

Nike are almost trying to communicate that they embrace failure as the human characteristic that it is, and crucially for Sport, as an integral part of success.

Nike recognise that if you’re going to test the boundaries then sometimes you’ll fail. But that’s OK. (As W+K mention about themselves on their site)

The sponsors who support Tiger have an obligation to the wider public. Not only a financial one, but a social one. One the one hand Tiger’s a bad example, and a brand can’t support that. On the other hand Tiger is a global star who sells papers and Trainers. But there’s always another side to a story, and Nike bravely capitalise on this…

Nike had to play this out carefully, and bide their time with such a comeback ad. They have a history of launching ads which cut deep into the mindeset of their audience. And this latest spot featuring Tiger is no exception, just on a different tack.

Earl Woods is the voice. Tiger’s late Dad. It’s played out as a voicemail before his Son’s comeback to Golf’s global stage at The Masters. What this ad sets up so beautifully is the rawness of the situation. Behind all the slick money machine of Tiger, The Brand is a man. Once a boy. Just somebody’s son, Earl Woods, to whom Tiger is just that. His boy.

What this ad does with his father’s concerned voice is play out how Nike see their role: They’ll support him, like a Father would, like his Dad had. But they understand that forgiveness needs honesty, and to explain why, as so many people have before him, he messed up.

Tiger is a real person. Real people make mistakes and fail sometimes. Success in Sport has to have failure along the way. And failure leads to a better person and a better Sportsman. So Nike Embrace Failure. Hmm, where have we heard that poetic poignance before? Yes agency of choice for Nike: Wieden+Kennedy.

Top job Nike and W+K.

Now, Tiger, son, go and play your Golf. Do what you do best. And learn from your mistake.

Thanks go out to Matt Muir for alerting me to this.

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