NPR logo Tiger Woods' Father's Words In Nike Ad Were About Golfer's Mom


Tiger Woods' Father's Words In Nike Ad Were About Golfer's Mom

Nike's new Tiger Woods ad, in which the voice of Woods' dead father seemingly asks Woods, who stares into the camera, what he has learned, has initially had one effect every advertiser wants. It has generated big buzz.

Not all of it has been good. Matter of fact, the ad set off an instant controversy, with many viewers finding it creepy or crass. (Just check out some of the comments on the Advertising Age site.)

The buzz is only likely to grow from reports that the voice-over of Earl Woods, the golfer's father, was actually spliced together from comments the elder Woods made in a 2004 documentary.

And the original comments were about the elder Woods' wife Kultida, not the world's most famous golfer.

An excerpt from ABC News' report:

In the documentary, Woods compares the personalities of his two parents. His father, he says, is "steely cold, icy, never gets emotional" and his mother is "more fiery, more of an extrovert."

The documentary then cuts to Earl Woods, then 72 and already showing the ravages of prostate cancer, talking about Kultida "Tida" Woods, his Thailand-born wife and Tiger's mother.

Earl's full quote in the film is: "Authoritarian. Yea, Tida is very authoritative. She is very definitive. 'Yes' and 'No.' I am more prone to be inquisitive, to promote discussion. I want to find out what you're thinking was, I want to find out what your feelings are and did you learn anything?"

Earl then adds, "So, we were two different types but we co-existed pretty well."

Nike essentially decided to deal with its superstar endorser's image problem, which boils down to his prior public persona being something of a marketer's fiction, by creating another marketing fiction.

Also, the disembodied voice of Earl Woods reminded me that there was another such voice amid the scandal — the golfer's voice on that infamous voicemail telling one of his mistresses to remove her name from her phone. That's probably not an effect Nike was after.

Update at 7 a.m. ET, April 9: Meanwhile, over at Planet Money, former ad executive Neal Burns says the spot is Nike's effort to "sustain its investment" in Woods and he thinks it does a good job of that.