Nike “Never”

It started running on Father’s Day, but even without that peg, this latest Nike commercial from Wieden + Kennedy in Portland, Ore., featuring an almost-documentary-style look at Tiger Woods and his late dad is off-the-charts brilliant. Add the magical timing of Tiger’s dramatic win in a sudden death play-off at the U.S. Open on Monday, and the result is a complete, flabbergasting stunner. “You don’t really instill anything in a child” we hear Earl Woods saying in a kindly voice as the spot opens. “You encourage the development.” The elder Woods describes how he trained Tiger, explaining that he “did all kinds of things to mess Tiger up” and taught him never to rise to the bait. At the end, Earl says something almost chilling: “I said, ‘Tiger, I promise you that you’ll never meet another person as mentally tough as you for your entire life.’ And he hasn’t — and he never will.” From a psychological point of view, it’s a fascinating look at raising a phenom. In terms of aesthetics, the spot’s use of old footage and audio is as fluid and moving as Tiger’s championship performance at the Open. You could say that they both have flow, which is the essence of Swoosh. Bravo, Nike. –Barbara Lippert