Nike Hits Gold with Tiger Woods Commercial

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Nike’s new Tiger Woods commercial is going viral in a massive way, according to new stats from Visible Measures. The clip, which features Tiger looking into the camera while his father’s voice states the wish to “find out what (his) thinking was,” received more than 2.7 million views on YouTube in about a week on Nike’s official YouTube channel. Visible Measures also counted more than 160 reposts, mashups and parodies, accumulating a total of 7.1 million views and more than 15,000 comments.

One of the big drivers of the video’s virality seems to be social media. The ad has been making waves on Twitter since late last week, according to data provided by Trendrr. Woods obviously got a bit of a buzz out of his participation at the Masters, but both he and Nike got a big boost out of the commercial as well. Nike was mentioned in about 8,000 tweets per day before the release of the commercial. The day after it came out, that number jumped to 24,846.

One interesting aspect of the ad is that the parodies, mashups and video commentaries have actually become more popular than the spot produced by Nike itself. More than 100 of the 160 clips Visible Measures was able to track down on YouTube are derivatives, many of which simply replace Earl Wood’s voice with a different audio track. These parodies actually became more popular than the original clip over the weekend, and are still growing strong, whereas the Nike ad itself has lost some steam.

Visible Measures’ Matt Florentino believes that this wasn’t an accident on Nike’s part. From his blog post:

“Could Nike have known that no matter what kind of ad they developed, it would be relentlessly parodied? Could this have been their plan all along (given that the ad seems so easy to spoof)? After all, it’s a single shot on Tiger with a voice-over –- it doesn’t take much to record 30 seconds of audio and drop it on top of the ad. It keeps the conversation on Tiger and, in turn, Nike.”

I think he’s onto something here. This ad was a little bit like the online video version of a R&B single that includes both the a capella version and an instrumental track. Give people something that’s easy to remix, and they’re more than happy to take you up on it.

Related content on GigaOM Pro: Social Advertising Models Go Back to the Future (subscription required)

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