Should morality affect creative opinion?

By Mike Frey, Associate Creative Director @ NYCA

It’s a subjective business.

When the face of your brand falls from grace, what do you do? The public is outraged at Tiger for his indiscretions. So chances are, any Nike ad featuring Tiger would be damned by the public no matter how he was portrayed. I thought they showed guts by attacking the issue head on.

I thought to myself before the spot aired, what would his dad think about his infidelity? In fact, according to a show I saw recently, his dad also cheated on his wife. So he might not have even cared. Who is to say whether his dad would have disapproved of using his voice for this commercial?

Much of the public has judged this spot as being manipulative.

This is how I judge a commercial.

Does it hit me and make me think?

Is it original?

Is it not pandering to make a sale?

Is it going to create buzz?

I thought it did all of that. I can’t remember the last time a commercial even touched me that much. I don’t think this spot was trying to sell anything. It said, “I f–ked up. I got caught. There is nothing I can say to change that. I just have to learn from it and move on.”

So the public doesn’t like it. And what does the public like? Girls Gone Wild videos. Porn. Millions of dollars are made each year off of this type of stuff. The public really liked “Don’t Squeeze the Charmin.” With Mr. Whipple. A classic indeed. But that isn’t what I appreciate or admire.

A tough assignment for Nike. Thought they handled it well. I still think it will get in the One Show. Gold is a tall order to call. But I stand by what I think is great.

One Response to Should morality affect creative opinion?

  1. michael says:

    Mike,

    We differ on this one. Though you do tell the story well. I do think it’s a memorable spot and it did make me say ‘wow’ but the costs of the spectacle are not worth the costs of being insincere. That’s what I believe Nike can be at its best – pure passion for the sport, the game, not the violation of the rules. I think they knew it and that’s why they didn’t end with Just Do It.

    Nike, and Tiger for that matter, should have shown restraint (of course had Tiger done this originally there would be no spot). They should not have done a brand sponsored commercial on this issue. People were hurt by his actions, not competitive players, but his children, his wife. And this commercial came off as cavalier. Using a dead man’s voice is something you don’t see every day, I grant you, though they did bring back Orville Redenbacher to pop some corn from the great beyond. To make public what Tiger said was private smells of cynicism, over- consumerism, and cheap tricks. I wonder what the other Masters players who wore the Nike logo were thinking when they saw those values attached to their brand, attached to them?

    I do think you are right that it could take home some big awards. And you know how relevant I think those molded pieces of metal are. Especially compared to a wedding ring.

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