Even Nike can’t sell masculinity anymore
The company's brand has become lost in identity politics
In the 1990s, as sports writer Ethan Strauss remembers it, Nike ads were internationally popular, culturally relevant “generational touchstones”. Written by the Wieden+Kennedy firm, these miniature movies were “often creatively daring but also quite funny”. Consider 1996’s “Good vs Evil” where a team of footballers face off against Satan’s demonic soccer army.
Nike, according to Strauss, has stopped making and commissioning ads like this. Why?
Like what you’re reading? Get the free UnHerd daily email
Already registered? Sign in
And why are these ads so terrible? Nike like so many other institutions is tangled in the cultural weeds — race, gender, and power. “The result is that what Nike is happens to be at cross-purposes from what Nike aspires to be.”
For decades, Nike profited from and marketed a brand of hyper-masculinity. As Strauss puts it:
What are Nike’s football ads like today? They’re tolerance bromides, with hyper-masculinity not air-bushed out of the picture, but actively condemned.
Strauss thinks it resembles “an aggressive parody of liberals” not an advertisement for sports apparel. The company’s voice has been bent into the “language of righteousness.”
Read the whole essay here.
Wow! Excellent essay. What is a consumer to do when the firm hates the customer? How can the customer resist “woke” companies who do not share my values? I’m a Million Miler on Delta, but I HATE HATE HATE their woke corporate policies. I’m an Apple Fanboy, but they, too, are woke. Procter & Gamble had a Gillette ad that directly attacked the men (or should I say “non-women?”) who bought their product. How is that a winning strategy–tell your customers you hate them? Get your customers to hate you?
Why can’t Delta concentrate on the best flight experience for their customers and the best rate of return for their shareholders, and why can’t Apple focus exclusively on making “insanely great” products and services? Stated another way, how and why do corporations–and contrary to Mitt Romney, I believe that corporations are inanimate entities, NOT “corporations are people too,” as he famously said–become woke? Aren’t they taking their eye off the ball? Corporations should treat their employees and other stakeholders fairly, treat them well, but their mission is not so-called “social justice.”
Because the Universities are completely taken over by Post Modernism. The products of these universities now are worked throughout the Corporations and so produce their sick morality into corporate policy. This is how the leadership is in Politics too – the Democrat Party is totally gone to this dark side.
What’s a rub is that I’ve just purchased a new pair of Converse lo-tops and then realised who the parent company is. Drat, foiled again!
I actually found this Nike advert a little sinister and threatening. In my experience those who loudly advertise how loving they are tend to be hate-filled, much like predatory men love-bombing naive women in order to convince them of their ‘niceness’.
Reminds me of this advert that the Scottish government put out a few years ago: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wcr7hg8SJik
Thank you for the link. I had not seen nor heard of this before, but it is chilling. “If we see anything, we’re calling the police….” 1984 in Scotland. I am a huge proponent of “hate speech,” as part of “freedom of speech.” Remember that? If they don’t accept freedom of speech, they can f**k off. Scottish Taliban. Wow!
God , that was a frightening TV ad from the Scottish Government. Like something out of a dystopian SciFi flick.
that modern ad is indeed hilarious.
“you can’t stop us, might as well join us”
… looks over at Afghanistan, China, Russia, seems like they are stopping and not joining.
From what I have seen, footballers now try to sell me razors while delivering a sermon
George Best advertised sausages. Go figure.
Women’s Soccer, “Before the game, all 22 players of the US and the Swedish teams took a knee in a stadium devoid of fans to protest racial injustices”
In the Daily Mail posting below the story of the games from then on the American posters almost universally wished USA team to lose, they were so disgusted. I will watch no sports where kneeling is done – the sight of the UK Cops, and in the Senate of Pelosi and her toadies,’ taking the knee’. so sickened me I can never think the same of them – that sight always will stick.
Kneeling to God, or to your Monarch, I get – groveling in submission I do not.
Didn’t Dominic Raab include proposing to his wife? I’m sure that’s good form for a chap. The original article is very enjoyable also.
Well, take solace that few Nikes will be sold around Bermondsey. I did watch the England/Italy match. One opinion piece (I’m no scholar of the game) looked at how much more aggressive the Italians were; better at ‘toxic masculinity’ it would seem, and it made sense. Been looking at photos of the Italian team and there doesn’t appear to be an overload of ‘Swoosh’ signs.
Get woke and go broke or stay toxic and win?
Yes. proposing on a knee is also valid.
During Feudal days the ceramony of feility was the person nelt in front of who was to become his lord and held his hands out, togther, and the Lord put his hands over those of the supplicant, and an oath of to the death fealty was taken. The bond to serve both ways was made to last till death.
Marriage is the same, but equal.
Did not read, the adds are just Satanist – Nike is a sick thing.
I remember, in “Fast food nation”, Eric Schlosser concluded his book by pointing out that Macca’s et al. weren’t satanic overlords bent on the subjugation of the public, but rather were business operators. If you disliked their operational strategies and wanted to change them, the best approach was to make a business pitch to show them the benefit of operating differently. In essence, then, “enlightened capitalism”.
The “woke” takeover bid of so many companies seems to have learned the basics of that principle, but uses it to effect change in the name of an oppressive ideology, to all our detriment. End result: they’ll destroy the business they cudgel into compliance. Not that they care, of course. It’s as though a social virus acquired the”code” described above and applied it to pushing abstractions that the majority don’t recognize or sympathize with, but which most daren’t, or can’t afford to, reject. FUBAR.
Join the discussion
To join the discussion in the comments, become a paid subscriber.
Join like minded readers that support our journalism, read unlimited articles and enjoy other subscriber-only benefits.Subscribe