Tiger (and Nike) are Free Riders

Everyone who uses Tiger Woods in an advertisement is actually advertising Nike. In case you hadn’t noticed, almost any ad with Tiger usually has him wearing Nike clothing, especially a hat. While advertisers don’t complain, the upshot is that Nike gets to free ride on everyone else’s money, something unprecedented in such advertising programs.

Why would advertisers do it? Interestingly, it’s not because Nike demands it. The company says that Tiger is not forced to wear its apparel when appearing in, say, an Accenture ad. Tiger just chooses to do so.

The result, however, is that every Tiger ad seems to be a Nike ad. Look at the Accenture ad at right. Is it Accenture that you notice, or Tiger’s swoosh’s emblem on his hat?


  1. I noticed that he’s using his pitching wedge instead of the 9-iron here.

  2. In some respect it makes sense to do so. Accenture is relating ifself to Tiger by portraying them both to be aggressive and successful. Since they are simply placing name in the company of “other stars” why not use another such as Nike too. Obviously they must believe that Nike has a successful image that they think is beneficial.

  3. I agree with Geoff – who’s freeriding on whom? I’d say Buick has more to gain from being associated with Nike than vice-versa.