Whether you’re a golf fan or just a casual observer of news headlines, chances are you’ve heard all about the latest concerning Tiger Woods. No, I don’t mean the news that he’s dating Olympic skier Lindsey Vonn. There’s a new ad celebrating his return to the world’s number one golfer status that’s ruffling some feathers.
After a rocky return to golf after his high-profile personal issues, Woods returned to the number one spot as the world’s top golfer last weekend. Nike saluted the golfer with an advertisement disseminated through Facebook and Twitter that featured a quote from Woods, “Winning takes care of everything.”
Since the advertisement was released, there has been a firestorm of criticism leveled at Nike. Many believe that the ad harkens back to Woods’ personal struggles, implying that his winning negates his controversial personal issues. The number of comments on the post currently stands at 471 and runs the gamut of responses. One user remarked, “I like this ad, good for you Tiger and for you Nike. Tiger is a golfer, not a saint or the head of a church. His personal life is just that, PERSONAL and people should stay out of it.” Another user stated, “Completely asinine marketing move – I imagine some people are going to lose their jobs over this, hopefully.”
Nike spokeswoman Beth Gast has come out in defense of the ad, explaining that the quote is something Woods has always stated even prior to his personal issues. “The statement references that sentiment and is a salute to his athletic performance,” Gast told the New York Daily News (Boren, 2013). Meanwhile, the debate about the meaning of the ad is continuing on morning news shows, in the advertising world and around water coolers everywhere.
One thing is certain. Nike, regardless of the intent or subtext of the ad, has achieved what it wanted to do and then some. Woods amazing feat has been acknowledged by millions. Beyond that, Nike has stirred up a debate that keeps it on the conscious of people everywhere. Whether people see the ad as a simple acknowledgement or a case of mocking past wrong-doings, on thing is evident. People are talking about it and keeping the Nike name on lips everywhere. But is this notoriety coming at a price? Woods has weathered a firestorm that consumed his life at the expense of his personal career. Lost endorsements, public judgment and irreparable damage to his brand marked a time where the world saw Woods at his worst. As time passed, the damage leveled off and Woods became known again for his golf prowess rather his personal failings. For better or worse, Nike’s ad is causing the world to rehash what Woods has worked hard to get passed. Time will prove if the ad’s notoriety is worth it.
Boren, C. (2013, March 27). Tiger Woods Nike ad causes a stir with “winning takes care of everything” message. The Washington Post. Retrieved March 29, 2013 from http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/early-lead/wp/2013/03/27/tiger-woods-nike-ad-causes-a-stir-with-winning-takes-care-of-everything-message/