Apr
7
2010
Nike Reveals Creepy New Tiger Commercial, Unearthing Yoda-Like Earl Woods From His Grave
By Stephanie Wei under General

Oh, for heaven’s sake. Seriously? There’s nothing more inspiring than starting the journey for redemption with Poppa Woods still selling the world Nike gear even though he is sex* six feet under.

My initial reaction? WTF?! I was very confused, which quickly turned to disgust. The artistic direction is quite powerful, mind you, with a black-and-white shot of Tiger staring into the camera like a tortured pariah seeking forgiveness. Cue in the voice of the late Earl Woods, who passed away in 2006, playing in the background.

“I want to find out what your thinking was,” Earl says. “And did you learn anything?”

Interestingly enough, in Monday’s earth-shattering press conference, Tiger said, “In order to help others, you have to first learn how to help yourself, that’s what [my dad] always used to say.”

Um, I hope he picked up a few valuable lessons after 45 days in rehab. From what I’ve seen, it certainly appears that way. But the only impact the creepy Tiger Nike ad has had on me is negative. Only his actions will have an indelible impact on my opinions. More important, why was it imperative to dig up the Grand Master Jedi and play spooky sound bites while a solemn Luke Skywalker stares back intently?

Nike stooped low enough to misuse Earl’s Yoda-like legacy as an advantage to help rebuild Tiger’s broken image — the one that was still intact when Earl was around. But the loss of Earl was extremely difficult on Tiger, who fell into a deep depression and ended up in a bottomless cesspool of women, gambling, and great friends like Michael Jordan and Charles Barkeley.

Regardless of the circumstances, exploiting a dead man’s voice to patch up Tiger’s lapse in morality is creepy, awkward and sleazy. What else..oh, shameless. To use his words in a different context and apply them to another one, just smells odd (even if it’s legal). And let’s get this straight — please explain why Tiger needed to endure another scolding from his dead father on national television. Apparently it’s the only way to show the world he had taken responsibility for his actions. But thing is, there’s a massive glitch with using Earl’s moral rectitude to bring Tiger back to his core values.

Do a little digging on Earl’s past and people might not like what they find.  The sketchy (arguably illegal) divorce from his first wife. And this sad report. The estrangement with his second wife, Tiger’s mother. I have a hunch no one will like what we may learn. In other words, some secrets are best left buried with the people who died with them. Most of us would like to leave him to rest in peace, but I’m sure the National Enquirer and TMZ won’t have trouble with doing otherwise.

Nike intended to incite a strong reaction — but maybe not the one hoped for. Way to push the envelope so far beyond inappropriate it’s undeliverable. Assuming the ad was another trick of the PR trade, it might have been more effective to wait a few weeks. Too much, too soon, you know? But I’m just looking forward to watching him play some golf for the first time in over five months.

T-11 hours until tee-off. Thank God!

*Honest typo. I guess you could call it a Freudian slip.