Originally Published: April 9, 2010 9:59 p.m.
If Nike and Tiger Woods wanted their latest commercial to evoke a visceral reaction, we must consider it a success.
The black-and-white ad, which aired the day before Woods was to make a return to the PGA after a well-detailed five-month absence from the game, had a stone-faced Tiger staring into the camera while the voice of his dead father Earl says:
"Tiger, I am more prone to being 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?"
Even so, the buzz around the ad has circled the globe. If it's true any publicity is good publicity, Nike and Tiger got it right.
Their effort falls far short in other areas, though.
Presumably, we're supposed to be a witness as a son gets a talking-to from his father concerning bad decisions he's made. If so, Tiger's blank expression throughout the short spot didn't do a great job of selling it.
Yeah, yeah, right, dad. Uh-huh. Can I borrow the car keys now?
The major sin is that the quote wasn't about Tiger at all. Thanks to some digital sleight of hand, while the quote started with his name, it was a comment Earl made two years before his death in 2006 concerning the differences between him and his wife Kutilda.
While those words may fit Tiger's current situation, the commercial producers twisted them so far out of context they have no real meaning. How can they?
Without that, Nike's attempt to help erase Tiger's past with a 30-second television spot - we no doubt will see many more to come - then re-package him as golf's one shining star will fall flat.