Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 18 September 2019

Nike's new 'Winning takes care of everything' for Tiger Woods fails to tick morality box

Multiple news outlets called out the company for being so incomprehensibly short-sighted, and Nike responded that the quote was meant only in a sports context. How convenient, writes Steve Elling.
Tiger Woods, left, and Arnold Palmer share a laugh during the trophy presentation after Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament in Orlando, Fla., Monday, March 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) *** Local Caption *** APTOPIX Bay Hill Golf.JPEG-09bc7.jpg
Tiger Woods, left, and Arnold Palmer share a laugh during the trophy presentation after Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational golf tournament in Orlando, Fla., Monday, March 25, 2013. (AP Photo/Phelan M. Ebenhack) *** Local Caption *** APTOPIX Bay Hill Golf.JPEG-09bc7.jpg

The Swooshers have done it again.

Trying to utilise the marketing momentum of a highly paid sports figure who was, until a few months ago, virtually toxic in a sales context, Nike on Tuesday unveiled another tone-deaf advertisement featuring their divisive golf frontman, Tiger Woods.

In the advert, which appeared in social media, Woods is featured in a photo along with the words he uttered Monday after reclaiming the No 1 position for the first time since 2010: "Winning takes care of everything".

Does it, now? Given the nature of his comeback, what message does that send to people with the slightest sense of morality? Multiple news outlets called out the company for being so incomprehensibly short-sighted, and Nike responded that the quote was meant only in a sports context. How convenient.

It was hardly the first time a Woods ad via Nike - which also has employed Oscar Pistorius and Lance Armstrong as pitch men - had been deemed offensive.

When Woods first returned from his sex scandal at the Masters three years ago, Nike unveiled a TV ad using the disembodied recording of the voice of his late father, Earl. Using a dead man and the biggest scandal in golf history to hawk gear? Turning a quote from Woods, after he had completed a climb to No 1 that few thought possible, with no concept of its broader meaning?

Fans love a good comeback. But some have memories longer than a 140-character tweet.

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Updated: March 27, 2013 04:00 AM

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