The recent Nike ad featuring Lebron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers asking "what should I do?" solidifies a new age of marketing for sports figures. The ad addresses the fact (however indirectly) that Cleveland fans felt betrayed that Mr James chose to leave his hometown of Cleveland for the opportunity awaiting him in Miami Beach. This decision has been criticized by fans and players alike and Lebron wanted to respond. This is not the first time Nike has used a commercial to allow a sports figure to 'apologize.' You may remember the creepy Tiger Woods commercial from earlier this year where we just watch Tiger's somber face while his deceased father's voice scolds him in the voice-over. Why does Nike think this will work? But more importantly, why do the athletes agree to it? Why not just come out and apologize? "I am sorry for my infidelity," "I am sorry for leaving Cleveland, I felt it was the best thing for me and my family." What's so wrong with being honest?
Ego…that's what. We put these athletes on a pedestal so they want to immortalize themselves, what better way than through a creepy commercial? Tiger's commercial did nothing for his image, neither will Lebron's. If you want forgiveness from your fans, employees, family, whomever, then just ask for it. No gimmick or video or TV commercial will make up for a good old-fashioned apology and an ask for forgiveness. I wonder if our connected world is causing us to be more impersonal? It sure is causing us to look for different ways to interact by avoiding personal connections.