Nike to capitalize on Woods' historic shot
Two weeks after Tiger Woods' historic shot on the 16th hole in the final round of The Masters, Nike is finally ready to capitalize.
The company, in association with its advertising agency, Wieden+Kennedy, has produced a TV ad using the raw footage and audio from the shot, which Woods holed from just off the green, interspersed with commercial messages:
"We gave you a wedge with more feel. You showed us what it could do."
"We gave you a ball with more control. And you didn't center the logo?"
The last line refers to the fact that as the ball rolled to within inches of the hole, it slowed down, but the Nike swoosh wasn't perfectly centered for the camera.
Even so, Nike received as much as $1 million in equivalent advertising time in media exposure from the shot in the first couple days after Woods' victory, according to officials with the sponsorship evaluation company Joyce Julius & Associates.
"I think under the circumstances, it's one of the best [shots] I've ever hit," Woods said. He eventually won his fourth Masters on the first playoff hole.
Now, Nike executives want to make sure the shot and their association with it remains foremost in consumers' minds.
"We wanted to be able to remind people about how special it was and to connect our product to that moment," said Chris Mike, Nike Golf's director of marketing. "You don't often get natural opportunities like this."
Woods was using Nike's new One Platinum ball, which debuts in stores in May. The company's initial run of preorders has sold out.
One reason the Nike ad couldn't be turned around even quicker was because of extensive negotiations. The company had to negotiate for the rights to the footage with Augusta National, with CBS for the rights to the audio and with announcer Verne Lundquist for the rights to use his voice.
Augusta National spokesman Glenn Greenspan said that it's the club's policy not to discuss business affairs. Lundquist's agent Maury Gostfrand would not comment on the terms of Lundquist's deal.
Despite the complications, Nike had to do something with the footage, said Scott Becher, president of Sports & Sponsorships, a sports marketing firm.
"It is a marketing no-brainer," Becher said. "That moment, with continued nurturing, will be a defining one for the Tiger-Nike relationship. Advertising is usually about what a product can conceptually do for you, but this was a real moment that happened in a pressure-packed environment that proved that both Tiger, and by association, Nike, could deliver. That's not something to be bashful about."
The commercial will run mostly on cable, including the Golf Channel. Additional spots will run this weekend on CBS during its coverage of the Zurich Classic of New Orleans.
Darren Rovell, who covers sports business for ESPN.com, can be reached at Darren.firstname.lastname@example.org.
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