It took almost four years, but Nike finally got their Tiger Mojo back. So really, you can hardly blame them for telling the world as quickly, loudly and proudly as they did earlier this week. [1] I wrote about the Tiger-Nike relationship a few years back in NIKE, TIGER & PAYBACK. This latest development is a perfect-storm for Nike and makes ironic sense for both brands. Nike’s agency likely created this week’s ad for a 2009 strategy session (except for the photo of Tiger sporting a soul van dyke, ’cause who knew?). This is what Nike’s staying with Tiger was all about.

Nike’s ad is clearly not a statement of moral values for the general public. It’s for Nike’s target group, the mostly-boys who buy their running shoes and the mostly-young men who buy Nike’s Tiger-endorsed golf gear. For this target group, winning does take care or/mean everything, and if buying Nike brand helps them get there, they will do it.

Now, Nike’s publication list for this ad likely indicates that there were other intended audiences for the latest brand message. This is long-waited validation for Nike’s Tiger Woods strategy of the past three years.

Yes, winning takes care of:

  • the Nike-Tiger brand relationship.
  • Tiger’s relationship with the entire golfing world, just as the 2013 Masters Tournament gets under way.
  • The PGA’s relationship with the broadcast media.
  • Tiger’s mojo—or it may actually be the other way around. Tiger’s final accent to golf’s pinnacle curiously coincides with the public acknowledgement of his relationship with American alpine ski champion Lindsay Vonn. 20-something Ms Vonn looks more than a little like Tiger’s long-suffering and richly-rewarded nordic ex-wife Elin (who is also currently dating a billionaire, but I digress…). Except that Ms Vonn is also currently the best female alpine skier on the planet, competes and wins in all disciplines (which is extremely rare, so you know), and if she can recover from her current injury, she will most likely be the winning-est alpine skier of all time.

And this is why sports is often so much more interesting than real life. In sports, winning takes care of everything.

Notes and references:

  1. Advertising Age, March 26, 2013.