Is Nike's advertising cursed?
The athletic shoe maker is pulling an ad featuring Olympic runner and alleged murderer Oscar Pistorius. The company seems to have terrible luck with athletes.
Nike (NKE) can't catch a break with its athletic sponsorships. Each year seems to bring scandal to its roster of sponsored athletes, including Michael Vick, Ben Roethlisberger, Tiger Woods and Lance Armstrong.
Now another Nike-sponsored athlete has fallen from grace: Oscar Pistorius, the double-amputee South African runner who on Thursday was charged with murdering his 30-year-old girlfriend. She died of gunshot wounds.
Nike yanked an ad on Thursday that featured the runner in a green and black bodysuit while running on his prosthetics, according to Advertising Age. The ad bears the unfortunate tagline, "I am the bullet in the chamber."
The ad's copy has a chilling and unintended resonance after the death of Pistorius' girlfriend, especially given that the runner is charged with firing the gun. Pistorius is a gun enthusiast, according to The New York Times.
"Nike extends its deepest sympathy and condolences to all families concerned following this tragic incident," the company said in a statement following Pistorius' arrest. "As it is a police matter, Nike will not comment further at this time."
It's not the first time Nike's ads featuring a onetime sports hero have taken on unfortunate overtones after a scandal.
Disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong, who admitted to doping in an interview with Oprah Winfrey, made this ad for Nike in 2001. Armstrong asks viewers, "Everybody wants to know what I'm on. What am I on? I'm on my bike, busting my ass six hours a day. What are you on?"
Apparently, the rest of us were riding on the presumption that we could believe Armstrong, who told Winfrey last month that he in fact was using drugs at the time the ad was taped, from the late 1990s into the early 2000s.
Nike pulled its sponsorship of Armstrong in October after the U.S. Anti-Doping Agency detailed allegations about his usage of performance-enhancing drugs.
Tiger Woods also proved controversial for Nike. After the golfer admitted cheating on his wife, Nike decided to stick with Woods. The difference? Woods achieved his athletic success without cheating, while Armstrong resorted to drugs, notes SBNation.com.
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Maybe we just spend too much time, money and energy with the "hero worship" thing that seems to go along with athletic talent, or any kind of publicity. (Can you say "Kardashian"?) Maybe we should spend more time and energy paying attention to important stuff that's happening in our lives, our families and our communities and forget worshipping these celebrities. I quit buying Nike products a long time ago because Nike endorses hero-worship by signing primadonna athletes to overly-lucrative endorsement deals.
First: I honestly don't know all the facts with what this guy did. So I'm not jumping on ANY bandwagon saying he is guilty or innocent. Smart move is to wait and see THEN comment.
Second: Nike is doing just that: Waiting for all the facts. Nike had NO idea what Lance Dope-Strong or Tiger Woods was doing behind closed doors. So why should Nike take any heat for pulling the ads after finding out that these people did?
Third: Lance is a coward and a cheater. Tiger? He cheated on his gal, but nothing near in the same league what Dope-Strong did. Oscar Pistorius? I'll wait and see before I cast judgement.
Finally: If a company doesn't want a part of a controversy, it's their right to pull ads. So, is it a trend that Nike picks lightning rods? No. It's coincidental.
The idiot in the video makes the comparison says South Africa is a heavily armed society, and is a very violent society. Then he continues with the comparison, "People have guns there, like we have tennis racquets".
I couldn't help but guffaw at those statements.
He couldn't possibly live in the United States, could he?
Lost all credibility, with a few well-chosen stupid statements.
Maybe Nike should change their motto. 'Just Do It'. It looks like that's exactly what Oscar did.
Nike has a lot of top athletes, as well as upcoming athletes, under its sponsorship. Nike's losses are manageable compared to the profits generated by the athletes for it. Otherwise, it will not be sponsoring top athletes anymore. Top athletes are psychologically tough on their sport-sides but fragile on their real life-sides. They have to believe in themselves, as the best among the best, to workout really hard, thus giving them the best opportunity to succeed. They spend the majority of their formative lives focused on their crafts and set aside normal lives. These breed cocky sports heroes, fueled by the adulation of fans, who are sensitive wimps against criticisms. This sense of infallibility makes them act in ways that no ordinary wo/man will.
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