By Tim Hayes


Okay, so everybody’s seen the weird black-and-white, creepy fatherly voiceover, mea culpa, brand-defending commercial starring the world’s most famous serial adulterer, Mr. Eldrick Woods.  And most people have formed an opinion about it by now, if they care at all.


Here’s mine:  Shut up and golf already.


Self-styled brand guru Donnie Deutsch gushed on the Today Show last week about what a brave choice Nike made in confronting the issue head-on, and how the 30-second spot did such a courageous, brilliant job in protecting the Nike brand.  But honestly, who doesn’t know that this guy royally screwed up?  (No pun intended.)  Who wouldn’t agree that his late father would have kicked his rear end had this happened while he was still around?  Who could argue that ol’ Tiger suffered from a prolonged – and epically so – lapse of judgment?


So we need a sneaker manufacturer to rehash all of this?  And not just any sneaker manufacturer, but one that’s been swatting away rumors of third-world sweatshop labor practices for years.  Pot, meet kettle.  What’s going on here?


There’s a school of thought that believes using Tiger’s dad’s voice is a skin-crawl-inducing little treat, as well.  As we hear Earl Woods scolding his errant son from the Great Beyond, we see the ginned-up shame in poor Tiger’s big puppy-dog eyes.  Please. We get it.  All the emoting, oy!  Plus, I’ve seen better acting at my kids’ elementary school Thanksgiving pageants.


Let me play caddy for a moment.  Hey, Big Guy, here’s the lie on this hole: You’re a great golfer but a lousy husband.  We’re glad you got some help, we’re glad you owned up to your colossal and costly collapse of conscience, and we hope things work out for you and your family. It looks like you’re learning to control your temper and be more gracious to your fans while on the course, and we’re happy about that, too.


But for Pete’s sake, can we stop the apology tour yet?  You’ve taken care of the communications requirements by finally telling the truth and expressing remorse.  Your most loyal sponsor has piled on with its slightly uncomfortable and off-putting commercial that gently spanks you for being a bad boy before letting you back on the playground with the other kids.  Your role model days are on ice for a while, but we shouldn’t put you (or any athlete) on that high of a pedestal in the first place, so we’ll take the rap on that. 


And so, now that everybody’s gone to confession and done their penance, there’s really only one thing left to say.  Tiger, please, just shut up and play.


Copyright 2010 Tim Hayes Consulting