Blogger 'Just Does It,' Turns Tiger Woods Clip Into Instant Nike Commercial
by Gavin O'Malley, Thursday, Apr 14, 2005 8:00 AM EST
THE SCENE WAS SET: TIGER Woods, mustering all his resources in the final round of the Masters on Sunday, hits a chip shot that lands some 20 feet from
the 16th hole--and, after making a chance 90-degree turn in the hole's exact direction, comes to a complete standstill on its lip before dropping in. A
magical moment for Tiger and the sport, for sure. But Chris Mike, director of marketing and advertising for Nike Golf, said he immediately saw the moment's
potential for another cause: the marketing of Tiger's prototype Nike One Platinum golf ball, which had just made the miraculous journey. Mike said his team
began work Monday on commercials for One Platinum, which most likely will include Tiger's shot, and could start running as early as next week. The twist?
Joseph Jaffe, marketing blogger and president of the "new marketing" consultancy "jaffe, L.L.C.," beat Nike's marketing team to the punch on Sunday by
uploading Tiger's moment on the 16th green from his TiVo to his personal computer, adding Nike's "Just Do It" slogan at the end of the shot, and posting the
sequence in 30- and 60-second form to his blog that same night. Since Monday, Jaffe's site, jaffejuice.com, has received over 50,000 hits, in large part
because established public relations blogger Steve Rubel chose to link to Jaffe's blog. "I'm very interested in people creating their own ads," said Rubel,
who is also vice president of client services at CooperKatz. "Jaffe's ad wasn't innovative because of the creative design, which was pretty straightforward.
What was innovative about the ad was the consumer initiative that it represents." Jaffe said he never set out to wow people with his design skills. "The thing
took less than half an hour to put together," Jaffe said. "I didn't do this as a designer; it was an experiment to test the powers of viral marketing. It's
all part of my belief that the only way to revive the relationship between consumers and marketers today is to throw the rules and the roles we play out the
window. This just proves how easy it is for consumers to have a voice." Many experts who track the growth of viral marketing--also known as word-of-mouth
marketing--portray the phenomenon as the inevitable outgrowth of accessible graphic design tools and consumers' desire to help define the brands around them.
"Thanks to applications like iMovie, content is so easy to make now, and we see this all the time now from consumers," said Pete Blackshaw, chief marketing
officer at Intelliseek--which measures consumer sentiment and buzz online--and co-founder of the Word of Mouth Marketing Association. Blackshaw cited two
pieces of consumer-generated media, each inspired by Apple's iPod, to illustrate the unpredictable nature of consumer control. In one well-known instance, a
schoolteacher by the name of George Masters spent about five months creating a professional-quality iPod ad that has been widely distributed around the Web.
In another case, two brothers and professional filmmakers named Casey and Van Neistat took a different tone after Apple allegedly wouldn't replace Casey's
iPod battery when it died on him. They filmed each other spray-painting the words "IPOD'S UNREPLACEABLE BATTERY LASTS ONLY 18 MONTHS" on as many public iPod
advertisements as they could find and then posted the video at iPodsdirtysecret.com. Other established brands--Ford, Puma, Volkswagen--have been the victim
of viral efforts by consumers who haven't depicted the brand's image nearly as well as Jaffe portrayed Nike. "This was really a dream scenario from a marketing
perspective for Nike," said Jonathan Carson, president and CEO of BuzzMetrics, a research firm created to mine conversations that consumers have with one
another online. "Companies run the risk of backlash when they immediately swoop in on powerful, natural events, and try to exploit them for their own gain.
In this case a consumer took the initiative, which takes the weight off their shoulders." Jaffe found it surprising that consumers went to his
business-to-business site to post comments about his ad. "It's really an industry site where you wouldn't normally expect consumers to tread," Jaffe
said. "They're playing in our sandbox, which is great, because it's just another example of consumer/marketer roles being disregarded and consumers using
the voice they've been given." Nike's Mike said he had not seen Jaffe's ad, nor would he comment more broadly on consumer-generated media. Steve Rubel said
he thought it would be a mistake for Nike to force the ad's removal. "No public action is really the best plan of action for Nike in this case," said Steve
Rubel. "Unfortunately, they don't have a blog where they can post this, but they should at least send it to their ad agency." Added Rubel: "This type of
feedback is truly invaluable."