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What brands can learn from Nike’s quick creation of ad following Tiger Woods’ win

Nike was quick to act when American professional golfer Tiger Woods (pictured) clinched his fifth victory at the 2019 Masters Championship recently, putting out a video on the same day of the win titled “Tiger Woods: Same Dream”.

The 51-second spot showed snippets of Tiger Woods participating in the tournament followed by a few clips of him golfing when he was younger. “It’s crazy to think a 43-year-old, who has ever experienced every high and every low and has just won his 15th major, is chasing the same dream as a three-year-old,” the video said.

According to multiple media reports quoting sponsorship analytics company Apex Marketing Group, Woods’ victory amassed US$22.5 million in exposure for Nike. Meanwhile, the win is also estimated to add approximately US$2 billion to Nike’s market value, media outlets reported. Although brands including Gatorade, Gillette and AT&T dropped their sponsorship deals with Woods in 2009 and 2010 after he was involved in extramarital affairs, Nike still stood by Woods.

While some reports have toyed with the idea of Nike being opportunistic for capitalising on Woods’ win, similar to what it did with the chatter surrounding former American footballer Colin Kaepernick last year, industry players A+M spoke to agreed that it is a good call for brands to pre-empt sports wins and create creatives in advance. In a statement to A+M, David Mayo, GetCraft chief growth officer and former Ogilvy Malaysia CEO, said if brands have the right resources and a big enough story, it is always good for them to think ahead and consider all eventualities.

However, brands should also ensure their creatives do not look like it was pre-set, otherwise they will miss the point of being “in the moment”, Mayo said. “All brands today should be able to move at the speed of the consumer conversation in a seamless and frictionless way. The Tiger Woods ad is a great example of pre-planning, faith in the athlete and a brand backing him all the way,” he said. Mayo added:

Nike is at once in the moment, on trend and seamless in its delivery.

Nike’s latest ad is also a testimonial to one of the best, Mayo said. As such, it will be thanked and applauded for celebrating one of the world’s best sportspeople. While Nike might have gotten it right in predicting Woods’ victory, the creative would not have gone to waste even if Woods lost, explained Mayo, adding:

The creative could have won either way as it’s a story about ambition and perseverance, which is what Nike is all about.

Agreeing with Mayo is Robert Gaxiola, ECD at Keller:Media, who said even a loss can be turned into an opportunity. Win or lose, it really depends on the story brands decide to tell and covering both sides is a creative challenge itself, Gaxiola said. He added that smart brands are always thinking a few moves ahead and that capable creative people think of every story angle, even impossible ones.

“Sometimes you are put in a position to hedge a bet when your brand is a title sponsor of a team or athlete. Having two in the barrel is a luxury of course, but with a great production team it can be done. Being brave and nimble has its rewards,” Gaxiola said.

While this particular ad by Nike would no longer have the same meaning if Woods lost during the 2019 Masters Championship, Gaxiola said the storyline of having a hero chase a dream, even when he is struggling and in pain is still within the spirit of the brand. He added:

But this time everybody came out a winner, Woods, Nike, and their respective fans.

Creative wastage

Naga DDB Tribal’s ECD Alvin Teoh told A+M that whether a creative is wasted depends on the medium that brands are using, and big brands with a vision will be willing to take that risk. Likewise, if the time required to produce the creatives is also worth it, then it is not wasted. Teoh said:

It’s also about being sharp and training yourself to be on a constant lookout for what’s coming around the bend. Such skills are never wasted.

According to him, majority of the work he conceptualises are never produced and while most ad veterans might feel “lousy” about it, they will eventually get over the rejection. For Teoh, there is always a learning curve involved when it comes to producing creatives – perhaps the insights were irrelevant or the creatives did not meet the brief’s objectives.

“Some of our ideas are reapplied and come back to life in one form or another one day. Nothing is really ever wasted,” he said.

Meanwhile, Mayo said if work is produced up front for something that may or may not happen, then the producers and creatives understand the rules of engagement going into the project. However, the best creatives will always work on the principle of the glass being half full and that the work will run. He added that if agencies always have the concept of their creatives not seeing the light of day, there is no point starting on it in the first place.

“If by ‘wasted’ we mean a work or creative is ‘not run’, then work in advertising is ‘wasted’ all the time. If you feel that way, there is no point being in advertising – it’s all part of the deal,” Mayo said. Nonetheless, he stressed that any work put together against a strong brief for a real reason is never wasted.

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