Villing & Company

Winning Takes Care of Everything

It's early spring in northern Indiana. Unfortunately, Mother Nature hasn't been checking her watch lately. So we're in that dangerous period when there is still ice on the lakes but it probably won't support much weight.

That's kind of how I view this article. I'm a marketing guy, not a moralist or Theologian. So it's always a little dicey drawing too close of a connection between business/marketing issues and those that touch on moral or ethical ones - especially when they deal with the world of sports. And the space we provide for these articles is not intended to go beyond marketing and related business issues. That said, I am going out on the ice a bit here.

Nike has released a new ad ostensibly congratulating Tiger Woods for regaining his ranking as the number one golfer in the world. Nothing wrong with that. But the headline reads "WINNING TAKES CARE OF EVERYTHING." Taken literally, it is true that winning a couple tournaments has put Tiger back on top of pro golf after several years of struggling to find his game in the wake of personal scandals. Is it really that simple, however? Nike has a long history of trying to be edgy with its advertising and one would be hard pressed to take this ad purely at face value.

tiger ad

Here's what Los Angeles-based sports marketing consultant David Carter said in USA Today this morning: "This is another case of Nike being Nike. The tagline will reinforce both people who support Tiger or are put off by him. For some people, this will be seen as another case of an athlete who doesn't understand how a big part of society views what he's done."

Most of us were taught to forgive and forget. Americans have historically been a forgiving people. And, for many sports enthusiasts, the forgetting part comes naturally as the latest game of the century captures our attention. But does winning really take care of betrayals of trust?

Earlier this year, I wrote about the fragility of brand trust as personified by Lance Armstrong and other name celebrities. Tiger Woods may be one of the best-known brands in sports. His is still a powerful brand in terms of his skills and competitiveness, but the trustworthy part of the brand equation was lost when his personal life ran off the road. That same USA Today article reported a recent poll about Tiger's perceived truthfulness ranking him No. 2,735 among about 3,000 celebrities - in about the same category as Mike Tyson and Kim Kardashian.

Winning and a new celebrity girlfriend won't fix a damaged brand.

Filed Under: advertising

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