Masterful Product Placement

April 11th, 2024
By Sean Fisher @Dentsu Sports Analytics

There have been many iconic shots in the sport of golf over the years.  There was the Tom Watson chip-in on the 17th hole at Pebble Beach to win the 1982 U.S. Open, the 45-foot putt by Justin Leonard at the County Club to cap the U.S. comeback at the 1999 Ryder Cup, and the hooking shot from the trees by Bubba Watson on the 2nd playoff hole of the 2012 Masters to name a few.  But does anyone remember the brands associated with these players and those memorable moments? The likely answers are no. 

At the 2005 Masters it was a marketing dream for Nike.  All golf fans will never forget the magical clutch shot hit by Tigers Woods on the par-3 16th hole in the final round and how the ball hung on the lip of the hole for what felt like an eternity—1.8 seconds, to be precise (The Chip In). The Nike swoosh logo prominently visible to millions of viewers around the world.  Given the recent split between Tiger and Nike it will be tough for Tiger’s new brand “Sun Day Red” to breakthrough the forever connection the swoosh has with the shot and Tiger.  Those two seconds of airtime for Nike were worth their weight in gold.

At the time, a 30-second commercial during the final round of The Masters cost roughly a quarter of a million dollars. The brief appearance of the Nike logo before the ball dropped into the hole translated to an estimated $233,333 in discounted advertising equivalency value for Nike across the live shot and re-airs within the broadcast.  Dentsu Sports Analytics (formerly Sponsorship Research International) executed that research, which was referenced in this Los Angeles Times article.

Tiger Woods went on to win the 2005 Masters, securing his fourth green jacket. Nike capitalized on the moment. They turned Tiger’s chip shot into an advertisement—a testament to both his golfing prowess and the power of their brand.  The swoosh became synonymous with excellence, determination, and victory. Every time fans replay that chip shot, they also replay the Nike logo.

So, when you see that incredible chip shot on replay again this week, remember that it wasn’t just about golf. It was about a brand seizing a moment, a golfer defying gravity, and both reaching iconic status.