As Tiger Woods makes his long-awaited return to the world of golf, I thought I’d take this opportunity to write about one of my favourite ads of all time.
Directed by Steve Rodgers, the two-minute TV spot – originally aired on ESPN and The Golf Channel – was a landmark for the game of golf. A landmark not only in the sense that golf had never really previously seen an ad with such incredible production value, but also how Nike used the ad to tell a landmark brand story.
A story that, for Nike, started in 1996, when they signed Tiger Woods. The face of the brand for so long, the very public collapse of Woods’ personal life in 2009 didn’t exactly do Nike any favours. Cue Rory McIlroy who, during Tiger’s absence from the game, not only became the world’s best golfer, but the shining star of Nike’s golf roster.
This was Nike not only showing how Woods’ ripple effect inspired McIlroy to greatness, but also a changing of the guard when it came to the brand’s biggest ambassador, seamlessly telling both stories in one beautiful body of work.
And, when it comes to great golf ads, this was Nike setting par for the course.