Tiger Woods

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I don’t see action sports being a good fit for Nike, even though its a nice revenue stream today. According to a New York Times article today, the segment is underserved and Nike wants a piece.  When Nike bought Hurley, I thought it a great idea, but one to roll as a separate brand. Using Nike to go head-to-head with O’Neill, Billabong and Quicksilver, not so much.

They are spending big — hiring 72 and Sunny, big name athletes on the action sports circuit, hot videographers and commercial directors, but it all feels a little “all hat no cattle.”  The tactics are right, but the business idea wrong.  I may have said the same back when Nike moved into golf, but then they tied their swoosh to Tiger and it worked.  Now they want to extend to skateboarding, surfing and snowboarding. Sure, it will spike, but long-term it will diminish the brand. Nike should have put wood behind Hurley.  Water culture people (frozen or warm) are fickle. They create style, they don’t get it out of a box or pad/pod.

Google’s culture of technological obesity (gobbling in every direction) is not dissimilar to this overstep by Nike. Chill with the kicks, the golf, and the apparel. Enjoy global growth. And back away from the table. Water sports will water down the brand. Peace.

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I drove a Buick Skylark as a kid and loved it.  Though green wasn’t my favorite color, the car offered a little macho and some pep.  My friend’s dad owned the Buick dealership from whence it came and when he grew up he, too, owned a Buick Dealership.  I went to work at McCann-Erickson in the 90s and we had the Buick account. Market research began to slip out that Buick had become the brand of Q-Tips — little white heads that stuck up from behind the steering wheel. That was the 90s.  As much as the client and agency derided the target and tried to go younger, they never really changed the car models.

The decade of the 2000s rolled in and again management talked about aiming younger.  Tiger Woods was the spokesperson – young phenom that he was.  Some youthful accoutrements were put on the cars, some grilles were youthenized, a new younger nameplate introduced (Lucerne, hee hee), yet the old people car tag did not abate.

Fast forward to today – the 2000 teens.  “People still equate us with big, floaty, boxy cars that are driven by people in their 70s and 80s,” said Craig Bierley, director of advertising and sales of Buick/GMC in today’s paper.  He added “This is really about position Buick in a progressive marketing space, so that people can think of Buick as a progressive company overall.”  This quote, a reference to a new selling application for iPhones and Androids.

Hello?  You can market younger but the car designs must appeal so. They don’t yet. See you in 2020. Peace!

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What’s in a name?  Everything.  Would Tiger Woods have attracted the same attention (hmm, hmm) had his name been Frederick?  Would McDonald’s have enticed as many coffee drinkers had they named it McCoffee?  Would the iPhone had the same penetration with the name Nexus?  Hee hee. 

Your brand name is your package…without the package.  A good brand name is critical.  I love my brand “What’s the Idea”? It’s active. It challenges thought. Has a bit of a NY edge. As a brand planner, it defines what I do: Find the business building brand idea. 

Zude vs. Mashpan

If brands are empty vessels into which marketers pour meaning, then colorful descriptive vessels have a head start.  I worked for a very cool web property called Zude.  The CTO used to say “dude” a lot and no one owned the Zs so that’s what we went with. Doh. Zude was the world’s first drag-and-drop, free form social computing property.  I used to say “If you can drag and drop and type, you can have a website.” There were very few objects on the web you couldn’t drag onto your Zude page.  I lobbied for the name Mashpan.  “Mash” being shorthand for mash-up and “Pan” meaning everyone, everywhere, everything. (Mashpan also sounds like a home brewer’s tool…and I like beer.)  Zude vs. Mashpan may have been a billion dollar decision.

Hey start-ups, sweat the name. And for those of you thinking about changing your name? Should you have a nice pour in your vessel already, think twice. Peace!

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What’s the idea with Nike? 


Check out this new Weiden and Kennedy commercial for Nike Golf, a wonderful piece of entertainment that will not only make you smile but it will get you thinking about The Masters, green, green grass, and morning dew. It should even drive golfers into stores. Good advertising makes you feel something, then do something. This one made me lol and write a blog post. 


Nike ads have always been good at getting people to “just do it,” and with Nike’s unfairly high share-of-market that’s been enough to keep them chugging.  When leaders pump the category they tend to win.  But leaders still need to make deposits in the brand bank and I’m not exactly sure, based on this spot, that I know why to buy Nike other than because Tiger does. And though that is probably reason enough for many, I’d certainly like to see some sly Tiger reference to the product here. Look down the shaft of his new wedge while walking into the locker room. Test the flex of the club… Something.


That said, this is still brilliant work. The music, sound design (whack, whack), editing and brief were nearly flawless. Peace!


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