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Thursday, April 8, 2010

Tiger and Earl Woods: The New Nike Ad


My father died on Saturday June 20th, 2009 (the day before Father's Day) at about 2:17am. I did not have a chance to see him, or say goodbye. And to this day, and for many others, it breaks my heart.

I've made a lot of mistakes in my life-- some minor, others monumental. The thing is that I always had my dad there to help talk me through them. My dad was not perfect; he made a great deal of mistakes as well. We have all made mistakes. We have all had lapses in judgement, no matter how big or small. These mistakes don't make us bad people-- often times they make us look and feel stupid.

My dad went out of his way to make sure that me and my brother did not make the same mistakes he made. Sometimes he was hard on us. It's only with time and perspective that I've come to appreciate what he was trying to do. I know about some of his mistakes; others, he kept to himself. And as father myself (I have a 4 year old daughter), it will be one of my missions in life to try to guide my little girl down the right path...my stupid and idiotic and irresponsible mistakes aside. She won't be perfect. She may mess up. But if she learns from those mistakes, she will always be a better person for it.

Nike is one of the few corporate sponsors that has stood behind Tiger Woods during one of the greatest mistakes in his life. That's not to say that I support what he did-- I mean, the guy cheated on his wife with over 15 women(!). THAT is a monumental and moronic mistake, to say the least. Only time will tell whether or not he will learn anything from it. For their new ad, they decided to take on this issue in the most low-key and personal way they could. The ad is very simple; one shot, in black and white, zooming in slowly on Woods as he looks at the camera. He looks drained, tired, and somber-- so unlike other ads that feature a more playful and energetic person. The audio consists only of his dad's voice, who passed away in 2006. Earl's words are short:


Tiger, I am more prone to be 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.


I'm sure many people will find this ad repulsive, or even disrespectful, or stupid. It's Tiger Woods as victim. Why should we feel sorry for him after what he did? Boo-hoo for him. Why didn't they just dig up his father's corpse and prop it up next to him? I disagree.

Tiger returns to the Master's this week, after much speculation over whether or not he would return at all, or at least any time soon after this scandal. The show must go on, after all. He fell flat on his face, so it's time to get up and continue. But to do so, without acknowledging what has happened would be foolish. The question is: how do you do it?

For me, there have been times in the last few months that I wish my dad was still here. I wish I could just hear his voice-- even if it was to tell me how stupid or irresponsible I've behaved. I also know that with harsh words comes love and comfort. And I'm more than sure that Tiger has been thinking the same thing.

It's very personal. But so is Tiger's scandal. So many people were just chomping at the bit to hear Tiger make a statement about what he did and why he did it. And when he did not immediately comply, people seemed to be put off- regardless of how personal it was. What this ad does is address this issue in the most personal way possible for him. You want to know what he was thinking? He was probably thinking of his dad, and his voice, saying comforting things to him; his past mistakes aside.

Personally, I was moved by this ad. Maybe it's because it reminded me of my dad. I don't feel sorry for Woods and what he did...but I can empathize somewhat with his emotional state. At your greatest time of need, to not have that voice to guide you...well, it can break your heart all over again.





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