Wednesday, April 18, 2007

Negro Law: Can Nike Use Racism To Sell Us Sneakers

The story that refuses to die has found a new medium: advertising. AdAge reports about Nike using nappy-headed hoes racism and Don Imus as the fuel for their new campaign.

The ad, which ran on a full page in last Sunday's NY Times and will be used as a banner on some websites, reads:

"Thank you, ignorance.
Thank you for starting the conversation.
Thank you for making an entire nation listen to the Rutger's 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."

I think they edited out this line:

Also, thank you for giving us another way to sell sneakers to nappy-headed mofos.

Incorrect apostrophe usage aside (uh, you think Nike could scrounge up some money for a copyeditor to tell them there is no such school as "Rutger"), the ad does raise some questions.

Are they right? Are we NOW looking for other "great stories"? And do racist mofos saying stupid ish constitute a "great story?"

And how about all this "progess of women's sport?" Are a lot of people now going to attend the women's NCAA tournament? Do they now also care about the time these females spend off the court?

Are there people who didn't know when the season started that are now marking 11/16/07 on their calendar?

I don't know.

I know for me personally, the Imus ad will not likely motivate me to watch a women's basketball game. But this other Nike ad might:

Thank you big booty. Thank you for moving woman-kind forward.

So yeah, I don't know if I'm sold on Nike's message in this Imus campaign.

What I do know for sure is that Nike has sneakers to offer you. And they're using this controversy to sell some. Which leads to the final question:

is that cool?

(thanks Tishon, for the link)


  1. thanks for making me laugh my ass off!

  2. thats pretty much what I was thinking...thanks for putting that out there.

  3. the potential homage to my butt notwithstanding, this is yet another reason why I don't and shall never (voluntarily) wear Nikes.

    oh, and I'm not inviting anybody to kiss mine unless they buy me dinner first.

  4. This comment has been removed by the author.

  5. Anonymous4/19/2007

    Is it possible that they used "great stories" as sarcasm? As in, "wow, that was amazingly horrible...I wonder how many other people say/think things like that that are not front page news stories..." or "wow, I just read TAN's story about getting arrested for trying to return a DVD...I wonder how many other men and women are treated like that?" (Just talked with a coworker who had quite a story herself...adding stories to stories)...

    I'm not a huge NIKE fan, but felt taht the use of the phrase "great stories" was disconcerting, except I think they meant it to be sarcastic in that way.

  6. Blah Blah Blah4/19/2007

    ...I almost started a fight with a woman for stepping on my sneakers this morning on the A train this morning....
    ...they weren't Nikes ...just some Converse....but Jack Purcell Converse!
    But if they had been Nike's... I'dda probably did the same thing.

    Oppurtunist make money... anti-Imus sentiments are huge oppurtunities for money and exposure. That's the country we live

  7. Anonymous4/21/2007

    Check out the 'Branded' section of artist Hank Willis Thomas's page. He does a lot with Nike and race.

  8. this is a farce, right?

    you yanked the ad from a Mad TV skit, no?

    because if it's not, it should be.

  9. Anonymous4/28/2007

    Didn't Rutger Hauer graduate from Rutger?

  10. that ad has been around forever. i didn't even know they still ran it. it was in fitness magazine in like 2003 and featured other parts such as skinned knee and muscular thighs.

  11. As far as their "Thank You Ignorance" statement, I think it is notable that they are taking the time to acknowledge it. I'm not an advocate of corporations or anything but they did make a choice to say something about a national incident. They did not include images of their products. Sure it is branding in a sense, but it is constructive and forward.

    The Nike ad with the butt reminds me of the Dove campaigns. I know many women who are unapologetic about the figures. I don't really see a problem with it. I'll even go as far to say that the statement they're making is similar to Sir Mix-A-Lot's popular statement concerning butts.


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