SBD/June 11, 2013/Marketing and Sponsorship

Names & Faces: Critics Respond To Nike's New Tiger Woods Spot

TIME.com's Sean Gregory reviews Nike's new TV ad starring Tiger Woods as part of an ad campaign dubbed "Nike TW '14: The Sport of Golf," writing, "I found the ad oh so confusing." Woods in the ad "tees off, as dramatic music plays in the background," and a race starter "stands besides the tee, says 'on your marks,' then fires a gun before Tiger swings." So this ad "seems to be implying that if golf were an actual sport, not just a figment of Nike and Tiger Woods’ imagination, a starter would fire a gun." Gregory asks, "But since there is no 'on your marks,' is the ad actually implying golf isn’t a sport? Is the ad making a subtle pitch to the PGA Tour?" Gregory: "Mercifully, the ad closes with Tiger sinking what looks like a tournament-clinching putt. We see a closeup of his Nike shoes, and that’s it. All which says ... heck, I have no idea" (TIME.com, 6/11). CBSSPORTS.com's Kyle Porter wrote, "The premise of the commercial is cool ... I'm just not in love with the execution." The ad "feels a little ... forced" (CBSSPORTS.com, 6/10). But BUSINESS INSIDER's Tony Manfred wrote it is the "the best Tiger/Nike ad since the controversial and strange 2010 commercial where the voice of his dead father spoke to him" (BUSINESSINSIDER.com, 6/10).

THE KING AND I: China-based Internet service provider Tencent has signed a deal with Heat F LeBron James, who will become a spokesperson for “NBA 2K” Online in China. Terms of the agreement were not released, but James will appear in advertising campaigns and other promotions to support the game, which is based on the “NBA 2K” video game series. “NBA 2K” Online in China was developed by Tencent Games, 2K and Visual Concepts China. “It gives me a way to reach my fans in China and interact with them in a whole new way,” James said in a statement. The deal also calls for Tencent to create official LeBron James social networking accounts in China (John Lombardo, Staff Writer).

HOW TO PLAY THE LOTTO: In Columbia, Jamie Self reports 49ers RB and Univ. of South Carolina alum Marcus Lattimore "recently came back to Williams-Brice Stadium to film a 'public service announcement' for the S.C. Education Lottery’s 'Play Responsibly' ad campaign." The S.C. Education Lottery said that it "paid Lattimore $20,000 to appear in one 30-second and one 15-second television commercial." The ads "will air for a year." Lattimore is the "first celebrity to appear in the 'Play Responsibly' commercials" (Columbia STATE, 6/11).

RUNNER'S WORLD: In Denver, Daniel Petty reported U.S. middle distance runner Emma Coburn "has signed a professional contract with shoe company New Balance." Terms of the deal were not disclosed, but Coburn said she will "be with them for a while," adding she is "very happy with the terms" (DENVER POST, 6/10).
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