With each passing spring weekend, Colgate seniors find themselves paying less and less attention to the media. Cherishing what little time they have left atop the hill, most soon-to-be-graduates can be seen outside enjoying good weather, cold beer and the company of old friends.
And why not? Many normally well-informed Colgate students choose blissful ignorance in lieu of ominous reports of the harsh, unforgiving world that awaits them on the other side of the stage after graduation. As uncertainty reigns, some students prefer not to be inundated by the countless factors beyond their control. Did the jobs bill actually work? Why is unemployment still so high? What will the new healthcare bill do to small businesses? Important questions; unnecessary stresses. The only question that really matters for Colgate students is, “Am I going to get a job?” As CNN and The New York Times routinely fail to offer answers or alleviate concerns newspapers remain in their racks and dust collects on top of televisions all over downtown Hamilton.
Under these circumstances, shying away from reality can often mean that seniors develop a phobia of media in all of its various forms. But those who were still brave enough to pick up the remote and forge through primetime this week saw the silver lining in the cloud of graduation. When almost all hope was lost, one 30 second advertisement assured all aspiring employees that no matter how many Americans are out of work, no matter how difficult the job market is, good help is still hard to find.
Sitting at a press conference after his first round at The Masters in Augusta, Georgia, Tiger Woods commented on his new Nike
commercial released last Wednesday.
“I think any son who has lost a father, and who meant so much in their life, I think they would understand the spot.”
Tiger’s father, Earl Woods, died in 2006 after a long battle with prostate cancer. In the new Nike commercial, Tiger’s static profile is shown from the chest up, in black and white color. Wearing Nike apparel, with the trademark swoosh on his breast and cap in plain view, the golf prodigy says nothing. He lets the voice of his four years
deceased father do all of the work for him.
“Tiger,” his father posthumously inquires, “I am more prone to be inquisitive, to promote discussion. I want to find out what your thinking was. I want to find out what your feelings are. Did you learn anything?”
Pretty tough to focus on what Poppin’ Fresh has to say about croissant rolls after that puzzling cry for sympathy.
Tiger said that he liked the ad because he thought it reflected what his dad would have said about his mistakes. In fact, it was a recording of something that his father did say while he was alive, about some other nameless indiscretion in the now mysterious life of golf’s greatest prodigy.
Earl was right. It is important to learn from mistakes. But it’s also important to say you’re sorry first. Tiger’s awkward silence and pained expression in Nike’s ad was far quieter than
Unfortunately for Woods, many people did not understand the commercial the way he had hoped they would. Newspapers and magazines across the country wrote critically of the commercial, questioning whether it was appropriate to use a deceased loved one to try to sell a brand in the wake of the most heavily scrutinized sex scandal since the Bill Clinton affair of the 90s. Meanwhile, to the misguided superstar, his awkward silence implied reconciliation and redemption. For Nike executives, the marketing misfire meant something much worse. And for Colgate seniors, it meant something better. It meant that there’s still hope.
Thursday’s 30 second commercial was a cry for help. At a time when many companies are being forced to let go of even their most trusted employees, Nike’s marketing division needs more help than a mouse in a snake pit.
So Colgate seniors, fear not. If all else fails, you can always sell sneakers. In the past week, Nike has publicly demonstrated its dire need for new, young talent. Worried that your major doesn’t have any practical real world applications? No problem. Don’t know anything about marketing? Don’t sweat it. If you’ve ever worked at a lemonade stand before, you know enough to help out Nike. And the best part is, no moral compass necessary!
Loosen up and relax seniors. Get out your lawn chair and crack another beer. Don’t be afraid of the media. Because all you have to do is turn on your T.V. to know that somewhere, someone needs your help.
Contact Mike McMaster at [email protected]