2005: Nike ad features Woods as 5-year-old ‘champ’

If you thought Tiger Woods’ eight-stroke victory at the 2000 British Open at St. Andrews was a romp, check out Nike’s new TV spot commemorating his return to the home of golf.

The 60-second commercial – another creation by Nike’s longtime ad agency, Wieden & Kennedy – features actual footage of the 2000 Open with one significant change: The champion has been digitally removed and replaced with video of a younger Woods, circa age 5, driving, chipping and putting on the Old Course. The substitution is done so seamlessly it appears as if the young Woods actually wins the Claret Jug.

“It’s just fun to watch . . . seeing the Open crowd reacting (to the young Tiger), the announcers talking about (the boy as if he was the real Tiger)” said Chris Mike, Nike Golf’s director of marketing.

The spot, which has no voice-over (other than the broadcasters’ commentary) shows young Tiger joyously playing the game and ends simply with Nike’s signature slogan – “Just do it.”

Though it was initially conceived to promote the Nike Golf division, the ad has been usurped by parent Nike Inc. and is being used as a brand-building campaign for the entire company.

The media buy behind the spot reflects corporate’s involvement. Not only will the commercial receive heavy play during this week’s Open telecasts on ABC and TNT, it will air on mainstream programming such as the “Late Show with David Letterman” and “The Tonight Show with Jay Leno.” Nike also has bought time on ESPN, The Golf Channel, MTV, The Comedy Channel and VH-1. (The spot made its debut during Fox’s broadcast of Major League Baseball’s All-Star game July 12.)

“Big Nike is putting significant weight behind it,” Mike said.

In addition, at espn.com and cbssportsline.com, Nike will promote the commercial with “roadblocks” – Web ads that temporarily cover nearly two-thirds of each site’s home page. These ads will allow visitors to either watch the spot, download it or send it to friends.

Though Mike could not estimate potential pass along of the commercial, he said: “We think the viral implications for this will be huge.”

The Nike Golf division will be a major beneficiary of the new campaign, which is a “celebration of golf, Tiger Woods and a great moment,” Mike said. But he added that the ad’s broader purpose is to serve as “a tribute to the athlete.”























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