Saturday, April 10, 2010

Word of the Week- Conurbation


Conurbation (kon-uhr-BAY-shuhn) .n.

A large urban area involving several contiguous communities, formed as a result of expansion of neighboring areas.

[From con- (together, with) + Latin urb- (city) + -ation.]

For example:

With the conurbation of new housing developments spreading in all directions, Edmonton was in danger of becoming Canada's worst example of urban sprawl after Toronto.

Let's talk about... Tiger's Nike ad

Just in case you haven't seen it yet, allow me:

They went for it.
In all fairness, it is Nike and their slogan is "Just Do It" (notice how the slogan was conspicuously missing from the last screen?)

Regretfully, when asked what I thought about it almost a full day after seeing it for the first time, my response was "I have to think about what I think about it." But quickly thereafter I came to my senses.

I keep hearing people say that the ad "crosses the line", but I am going to reject that assertion right off the bat. Why? Because as far as I'm concerned, there is no "line" anymore. Sex is used to sell everything from soccer shoes to appliances. The other day I heard "Shaun from Spence" on the radio using S&M innuendo to sell necklaces FCS. Let's face it, at least half of all ads thesedays are vulgar or disturbing in one way or another. Do we really expect Nike to meet a higher standard when millions of dollars are at stake, when their golden boy is tarnished, when they have to make him immediately palatable to a skeptical public?

Puh- lease.

Let us, for the purpose of this discussion, accept as a given that this ad was born from a reality that team Tiger has finally grasped: Tiger should not speak for himself. Not yet. Maybe not ever. People are not buying it. Even when apologizing, he comes across as insincere. Better to let someone else do the talking for him, especially now that Tiger's scandal does not seem to be abating but rather gaining momentum.

Just this week, a neighbour admitted to having slept with Tiger as a salacious Vanity Fair article detailing his "relationships" with four of his mistresses hit stands. VF may as well have dropped a bomb on what was left of his dignity; the stories are truly disgusting, painting a picture of a selfish, remorseless lecher with little to no sexual self- control. Also not in his favour is the fact that his wife continues to refuse to publicly show signs of forgiving him- she won't wear her wedding rings, move back into their house or accompany him on the golf circuit. His colleagues haven't exactly jumped to his defense, either. His mother has tried to be supportive but, come on, she couldn't even look at him during his "press conference" (scoff) in February.

So who, WHO? I ask, can help absolve Tiger of his sins? Who can give him the wings he so badly needs to rise like a phoenix from the ashes of his self destruction?

Enter his deceased father, the man who knew him best, was by his side through all his biggest triumphs, served as his backbone, his rock and, apparently (conveniently?), his conscience. Anyone who followed Tiger's early career knows that the son leaned heavily on his father both personally and professionally. Tragically, Earl Woods died from cancer in 2006, around the same time that Tiger's reckless behaviour began. Is there a link?

Nike wants you to think so.

Here is the subliminal message of the ad, as far as I'm concerned:

This is a face you know, you have seen it a million times. You used to see it and think of ambition, drive and good sound values. Now you see something different. But while you are thinking of all those other things, remember this: Tiger Woods is a human who has suffered loss and pain, just as you probably have. Imagine trying to navigate the world of celebritywithout your moral compass. You'd be likely to make some mistakes, too. Tiger lost his way because he is human like you, but here is that voice of the past calling him back to the person he was before. He realises this now. Tiger was the person you believed him to be, the person you admired. He can and will be that person again.

So, is it working for you or not? For me, not, but I was never invested in the image side of Tiger.

What do you think?