What Was Tiger Woods Thinking?
While “serious” brands such as Accenture and Gatorade dropped Tiger Woods like a hot potato when his extramarital affairs suddenly went public, the more edgy global footwear brand Nike took a calculated risk and stood behind him.
On the back of Tiger Woods’ emotional apology and return to the US Masters green, Nike aired a commercial that directly addresses his behavior and subsequent penitence. In the ad, the golf champion’s late father Earl returns from the dead and asks Tiger what he was thinking – and what he has learned.
Behind the News:
As experienced brand stewards know, use of celebrities in global advertising is a high risk – high reward proposition. In this case however, Nike’s risk is not as great as it seems.
Massive media coverage in the more English-speaking countries may have turned the champion into a temporary US brand liability, and Nike needed to address the issue head-on.
But in much of the rest of the world, where private life isn’t usually turned into a public affair, sex-scandal coverage simply raises awareness (as with Bill Clinton during his presidency).
As a brand that understands global markets well, Nike is well placed to reap rewards from the Tiger media reality show.