Tuesday, April 13, 2010

The Medium Is the Meme :: Tiger Woods/Nike Ad Spoofs

Image:: Vidcap of Nike-Tiger Woods Ad

Last week, Nike unveiled a new commercial featuring Tiger Woods before The Masters, with the tactic being the voice of his father, Earl, questioning his wayward son. Some may call it edgy, but I find it cynical and cringeworthy. Mashable has an interesting article that features a graphic from Visible Measures showing how derivatives of the ad have surpassed the original, ostensibly stemming from a Jimmy Kimmel version.

One of the questions that arises is whether this was yet another tactic. Creating an ad that's likely to go viral and spawn spoofs and mashups. In other words, an ad that begs to be a meme.

My gut reaction is no, but not because I think it's not effective. I think it can be effective, but in the right context. Let's look at the original ad::

My take on this is that it's too transparent in its cynical enterprise. This is meant to generate buzz and controversy. The execution of it, using a voiceover by Earl {taken out of context, of course} to evoke a disappointed father and images of a sheepish Tiger, opens Nike and Tiger up for ridicule. It's hard to take this seriously, as the content is so thin. Ah, give the public what they want...a shamed Tiger being called on the carpet by a disappointed father. Hell, why not give Obama a cameo.

Here's the Kimmel spoof with a fake voiceover of Tiger's mother, Kuthilda, sharing her views on his behaviour::

Some say any PR is good PR and this applies to going viral. I don't agree with that. If you're a follower brand, I can see how this might be beneficial in increasing brand awareness. Nike isn't a follower. The spoofs are poking fun of the ads, so the audience is laughing at the tactic. This is so much heavy-handed "j'accuse", when a look to the future and rising from the ashes is a trope that could be tapped, in deft hands, that speaks to a nation reeling from economic woes.

In order to be truly edgy, the approach would have to be fresh. An unexpected narrative. This approach speaks to the media frenzy about his sex life, not about what Tiger means to the target market of golfers and fans. It wouldn't be easy to craft a commercial to bring the focus back to Tiger's golf game in a meaningful way that resonates and goes viral, but that would be my approach.

Twitterversion:: Nike/Tiger ads w/the voice of his father prove virally spoofworthy, but is any PR good PR? Thoughts on tactics & the brand. @Prof_K

Song:: The Sundays-'My Finest Hour'

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