Monday, April 23, 2007

Righteous Indignation For Sale

In what has to be the most "icky" marketing campaign of the year, Nike "extends the conversation" brought about by that Imus guy's inappropriate comments. Buying a full page ad in the Sunday NY Times, Nike shamelessly hijacks the controversy to promote their shoe brand. Because some copywriter obviously thought their witty repartee was worthy of subverting true national problems, I'll indulge them by including the full ad copy:

Thank you, ignorance.
Thank you for starting the conversation.
Thank you for making an entire nation listen to the Rutger's [sic] team story. And for making us wonder what other great stories we've missed. Thank you for reminding us to think before we speak.
Thank you for showing us how strong and poised 18 and 20-year-old women can be.
Thank you for reminding us that another basketball tournament goes on in March.
Thank you for showing us that sport includes more than the time spent on the court.
Thank you for unintentionally moving women's sport forward.
And thank you for making all of us realize that we still have a long way to go.
Next season starts 11.16.07.

Aside from the words, the ad includes a simple little swoosh. Not bad. You know Nike, you almost had me. The copy is pretty good. Not even halfway through, the repetition of "thank you's" successfully brings the sarcasm home and by the end of the lines, I'm actually believing the thank yous might be for real. Yes, this is truly poignant writing. Unfortunately, something is not quite right. Like a completely rotten apple, held miraculously together by the thinnest layer of wax, this perfectly glossy piece of art is repulsive at its core.

Nike, if you truly wanted to help, you needn't have spent thousands upon thousands of dollars on a full page ad and then follow it up with a full banner ad campaign. No, a simple scholarship to Rutgers would have sufficed. But hey, let's be honest, you weren't out to help the cause. You saw an opportunity to interject your well-crafted volley of words into an otherwise marketer-free discussion.

In doing so, you have shown the lowest of lows of our profession. You have shown that even Nike is no better than the price gougers after a fierce storm. Though you're not selling water for $10 a gallon, you are pushing a product upon the vulnerabilities of the public after a crisis. It's shameful and it makes me ashamed to be in the same discipline.

"Extend the discussion" my ass. What's next, a line of shoes dedicated to Virginia Tech?

Via AdAge

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