There’s some debate in ad circles over whether the new Nike spot, showing Tiger Woods apparently being chastised by his deceased father, is appropriate. We suggest the execution is brilliant — not just for the emotion which stops viewers cold, but for the colder media planning fact that about 41% of U.S. marriages encounter infidelity. In any given year about 10% of married people have sex with someone other than their spouse, and cheating is becoming more popular as Viagra, testosterone and estrogen supplements keep us all feeling fitter longer. The 19th most popular web site among U.S. men 35-54, core to Nike’s golf demo, is Adultfriendfinder.com. Google launched its web browser with a prominent privacy button to make surfing for porn less troublesome. America, you cheat.
Unfaithfulness is a sad and complex part of life, and anyone who knows anyone who has gone down that path realizes that pain, confusion, and redemption, not models or porn stars, are the real new partners. Spot producer Wieden + Kennedy has captured such angst perfectly. Do you like the creative, the disturbing emotion, the use of a dead man’s voice to sell golf equipment, the fact that Nike is softening the market for future, cleaner Woods advertising? It doesn’t matter: Earl Woods’ voice resonates because it’s talking to you.
Footnote: Nike chatter on Twitter shot up to 0.15% of all Tweets when the spot was released Wednesday. That suggests it’s working.