Why Nike's New Tiger Woods Ad Is the Worst Commercial Ever

Last Updated Dec 3, 2010 3:42 PM EST

Nike (NKE)'s new commercial with Tiger Woods -- video below -- is an unmitigated disaster, an epic mistake, a foul-up of New Coke proportions.

OK. Deep breaths.

So, Nike just released a 30-second commercial featuring famous golfer Tiger Woods. Perhaps you've heard of him? The spot simply shows a black-and-white closeup of a sad-looking Woods staring the viewer in the eye. As the camera moves in, Woods stays silent, but a voiceover from his dead father* -- yes, that's what I wrote -- says:

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?
That's the whole ad. Woods didn't even shave properly for the shoot.

One assumes that the "discussion" Nike is hoping to promote has something to do with Woods' recent insistence that he needs to get back to the values his parents instilled in him. Fine.

And this sells sports gear ... how?

That's not the worst part. If Nike's brand managers had been possessed by demons and then dreamt up a strategy to keep Woods' sex life in the spotlight for as long as possible, then this would be it. Perhaps they were thinking all publicity is good publicity -- but I just can't believe Nike's golf franchise is so unsuccessful that it needs to cement its brand this solidly to the greatest sexual meltdown since John Edwards.

What else? Oh right -- viewers can fill in their own answers to Earl Woods' questions, and those answers are unlikely to be the thoughtful, regret-filled ones that Nike is prompting us to come up with. It's advertising's golden rule: Never, ever position your product with a question that consumers can answer in the negative.

Want proof? Below the ad itself I've pasted two remixes, one that incorporates "David after dentist" and the other which uses Woods's own cover-up voicemails to one of his mistresses. And the spot has only been out less than 24 hours. Let the backlash begin!

Worst. Ad. Ever.

*Did Nike not read Vanity Fair's piece on Woods in the May issue, in which his father was revealed to be a drunk and a philanderer?