Nike’s New Tiger Woods Facebook Ad: Far From a Hole-In-One

27 Mar

I think Ricky Bobby said it best, “If ya ain’t first, you’re last.” This famous Talladega Nights quote just about sums up the fact that no one likes to lose. But while Ricky Bobby is a fictional character, there are professional athletes out there displaying less than mediocre sportsmanship.

Tiger Woods is back under the spotlight. Ping ponging from one scandal to another, the headlines of Tiger’s promiscuity had finally calmed down, just in time for his golf game to spring back up. This past week, Tiger Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational, which allowed him to return to his N0.1 ranking. Tiger held this ranking for 281 consecutive weeks before his golf game and personal life came to a crashing halt when it was released he was unfaithful (more than once) to his wife, Elin Nordegren. The ‘Tiger Woods Scandal‘ resulted in the loss of major corporate sponsors such as Accenture, AT&T, and Gatorade. Nike continued their relationship with Tiger.

How does Tiger and his loyal sponsor Nike Golf respond to the recent win? By releasing an ad on Facebook that makes a bold statement about winning. Word of mouth created a buzz of negative reviews, so I went online to check it out for myself.

Screenshot by Ashley Bunting

Screenshot by Ashley Bunting

“I’ll Never Buy Another Nike Product”

According to this article on AdAge, Crisis PR expert Mike Paul says that this ad is “brazen” for both bodies to take on when they are in the process of recovering their brands. Mr. Paul was right. The majority of fans are not pleased. Many parents have responded in the general attitude of, “This is poor sportsmanship. Is this is what we are supposed to teach our children? No.” However, some fans, such as the ones clearly noted in the screenshot above, go as far to say that because of the arrogance communicated in this ad, they will never buy another Nike product. 

Nike Golf Spokeswoman Beth Gast replies, “The statement … is a salute to his athletic performance.”

Does ‘Just Do It’ Imply You Must Win To Be Great?

Just Do It. The Nike slogan that the athletic company has built their brand on. This is the message that speaks to individuals hitting the gym for the first time in years because they have finally gained the confidence to put themselves out there. And if you ask me, most importantly, it speaks to the youth to be active. The bottom line is that the ‘Just Do It’ slogan speaks to athletes of all caliber.

photo credit: albyantoniazzi via photopin cc

photo credit: albyantoniazzi via photopin cc

Did you hear that? I think it was the sound of Nike shooting themselves in the foot. Sure, Tiger Woods might be the best golfer in the world. But what does Tiger’s new ‘Winning’ ad say to the average Joe who wears Nike apparel. The ‘Just Do It’ tagline inspires him. He now goes on morning jogs and is headed in the right direction to living a healthier life. To Nike’s dismay, he has never won a trophy in his life. Is he still winning?

What does this message say to Nike consumers? Some could perceive it as even if their personal life plummets, everything is a-okay (cue a thumbs up) as long as you are bringing home the biggest trophy.

The Tiger Woods fan club will stay the same. He has been through tough times (to stay the least) and his loyal fans have stuck by his side. They are thrilled to see him back on his golf game and securing that No. 1 spot. The Nike fan club is the one on the rocks. Nike’s customer base is much more diverse. To many, winning is not everything, as long as you are doing the best that YOU can do.

Me? What do I think? Well, Since You Asked.

In my amateur opinion, ‘Winning Takes Care Of Everything’ completely contradicts the ‘Just Do It’ message. I would even go as far to say that this Tiger ad could make some Nike product users feel bad about themselves because they are not winning.

Trust me, as a competitive athlete since I was 7 years old, I do not believe that “everyone gets a ribbon.” However, Nike’s Facebook ad comes across as arrogant and pompous, rather than tasteful and classy.

Sources: Nike’s Tiger Woods Ad: ‘Winning Takes Care of Everything’

Tiger Woods Facebook Ad Draws Mixed Reactions

Tiger Woods’ Gatorade Sponsorship OVER: Third Major Sponsor To Leave

This blog post is a part of a series of assignments for Integrated Marketing Communications at Elon University.

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