April 09, 2010
By now, you've seen the instantly famous Tiger Woods ad featuring the voice of Earl Woods seeming to chastise his son for his "transgressions." Earl Woods, who died in 2006, is heard saying, "I want to find out what your thinking was. I want to find out what your feelings are. Did you learn anything?"
The ad has, naturally, set off waves of controversy, with many approving of the ad's message, and many others saying it's an eerie, exploitative use of Earl Woods' words and memory. It's gotten people talking, which is exactly what an ad's supposed to do. But were the ad's creators, Nike and the ad agency Wieden + Kennedy, playing a bit fast and loose with the facts on this one?
As it turns out, possibly. ABC is reporting that the words from Earl Woods came from a 2004 documentary, and they weren't aimed at Tiger at all, but were spoken in terms of Earl's philosophical differences from Kutilda Woods, Earl's wife and Tiger's mother:
(Thanks to ABC for the video.)
Interesting wrinkle, that -- does it change the message for you knowing that Earl Woods' words were remixed in a way that he obviously didn't control?
For his part, Tiger staunchly defended the use of the ad. "I think it's very apropos. I think that's what my dad would say," he said after Thursday's round. "It's amazing how it -- how my dad can speak to me from different ways, even when he's long gone. He's still helping me. I think any son who has lost a father and who meant so much in their life, I think they would understand the spot."
Nearly two-thirds of those who voted in a Yahoo! Sports poll approved of the ad. And it is indeed powerful. But is it what Earl Woods would have intended? There are only a few people who can truly answer that question, and they've already shown their support.
See below for the original ad.
Photos: Tiger Woods at Augusta