So they made and ran their Tiger Woods commercial ahead of the Masters, and very curious it is too. It features a lot of boys, roughly between seven and 14, most of them black, saying "I'm Tiger Woods". Now golf is a pacific and relatively upscale sport, traditionally represented by older suburban pinky blonde whites of the Jack Nicklaus variety, so it seems like a good enough bit of what all Oprah audience members now call positive role modelling. But it has a creepy side in the absolute transparency of the process of identification, the mooniness of it. Nike, with its gnomic exhortations, is teaching the world to sing in a 1990s way, and that characteristic tick is another bit of all-purpose affirmation.
The major trainer brands are built on the fantasies and insecurities of adolescent boys, particularly black ones. Nike is a key socialising influence in that world; its campaigns focus attitudes and ambitions and aesthetics to an extent that middle-aged people can only guess at. So when Nike gets behind, say, Michael Jordan, the known world starts to tilt a bit. When they endorse a platitude with the very best designers and camerawork it takes on the status of a received truth, and when they use new music it gets very serious airplay. And they do it with a promotional budget infinitely larger than any social engineering institution. So it behoves planners and policy wonks to ask exactly what the little tick means - just do what?Reuse content