Woods ad draws mixed response

Nike Inc is going to find out, courtesy of a controversial new TV spot it is running that features Woods staring silently at the screen as the voice of his father Earl plays in the background. It ends with the image of a Nike swoosh.

The 30-second ad, which began airing on Wednesday, stars Woods in his first commercial since a sex scandal prompted some sponsors to distance themselves from the world's No 1 golfer and onetime most marketable athlete.

The spot is already generating intense interest -- nearly 700,000 people had viewed it online by early Thursday afternoon -- and a wide mix of reactions.
"Well, that will make you want to buy shoes, won't it? What the hell?" late-night talk show host Jimmy Kimmel said on Wednesday after showing the ad to viewers. "I guess you have to admire their chutzpah."

A poll by Yahoo showed 63 percent of almost 166,000 voters said they liked it, while a separate poll at celebrity website TMZ found 77 percent of roughly 91,000 readers thought the spot was "PR BS."

Some advertising executives say the commercial is a good strategy to move the story beyond Woods's extra-marital affairs, which have dominated media coverage for months.
However, Dave Zirin, The Nation's sports correspondent, suggested that the spot represents a "cultural rock bottom."

"The idea that Tiger and Nike would see the incredible turmoil that has engulfed Tiger's life as an opportunity to rebrand Tiger and sell us more swoosh-laden crap is simply sickening," Zirin wrote in the left-wing magazine.

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