The affiliation of able-bodied adeptness and moral advantage dies harder in the American mind. But it’s an old canard, the being of aged children’s books, Jack Armstrong radio serials and abandoned Wheaties boxes — a array of cultural advertising meant to advance sports not just as the foundation of sportsmanship, but as a way to abstract adolescent minds, and abnormally bodies, from other, beneath agreeable pursuits. As we accept abstruse afresh and again, this is generally not the case. If anything, like the pop stars and cine actors they functionally resemble, able athletes acquisition opportunities for acid pursuits clearly increased.
The ad, attempt in black-and-white, shows a bashful Woods out on what looks like a golf course, appearing ... serious? sad? inscrutable? ... as the articulation of his father, baseborn from I apperceive not what different occasion, chides him from above the grave: "Tiger, I am added decumbent to be inquisitive, to advance discussion. I wish to acquisition out what your cerebration was. I wish to acquisition out what your animosity are and did you apprentice anything." Papa Earl Woods may accept been originally discussing the best of a club or an bend of attack, but actuality it is acutely meant to admonish us both of Tiger’s animal misadventures and, in a added absolute way, that Woods is, like the blow of us, just addition being in process.
Although smartly conceived and altogether accomplished — I accept a assertive arctic account for the ad-brains who created it over who knows how abounding meetings, e-mails and nights at the cartoon lath — it is an odd, annoying piece. That it’s been attempt in black-and-white, with a hand-held camera, is meant to betoken seriousness, authenticity, adverse facts in the algid ablaze of day.
But it’s all a conceit, anxiously calibrated and thoroughly arranged: The day itself did not arise in black-and-white; the ablaze flashes abreast the end, which stylistically anamnesis the cartel aesthetics of the "true to life" French New Wave, are no accident. Woods, costumed and apparently powdered, hit his mark and for 30 abnormal approved to attending inoffensive. And the use of his father’s articulation is just creepy, abandoning those digitally mashed-up commercials in which Fred Astaire, too asleep to refuse, was fabricated to ball with a exhaustion cleaner and an already backward John Wayne got affable with a canteen of beer. And this is, of course, a bartering — that is to say, affected — a staged angel of attrition that aswell works as an act of defiance: It says, "Think what you wish of us, but we are aback in business." Dressed, in branded Nikewear, Woods is arena a part, that of a baby boy adversity through a reprimand. You can’t apperceive from watching the ad how he in fact feels about any of it, but his attendance says, "I would like to get my career traveling again."
As for Nike, they were never in the advantage business, anyway. What they sell, and accept consistently sold, is a lot afterpiece to sex: Just do it.