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Nike rides on Imus’ back… April 18, 2007

Posted by Arun Rajagopal in Advertising.
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I saw this Nike ad today and think it is a good example of situational advertising / advertising in context. Nike hopes that this ad will stir conversation about racism in America. It took out a full page ad in New York Times on 15 April 2007 and followed it up with banner ads in websites such as Flip.com, ESPN.com, FoxSports.com and NikeWomen.com. The creative execution by Wieden & Kennedy, Portland indirectly thanks Don Imus for bringing the issues of race relations and sexism to the forefront. The copy on the print ad 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.”

Nike incidentally is the apparel sponsor of Rutger’s men’s and women’s basketball teams.

If you still don’t know what’s all this ruckus about ‘Imus’, here’s a quick backgrounder :
On 4 April, ‘shock-jock’ radio personality Don Imus musn’t have thought that he had placed his head on the chopping block when he called the Rutgers University women’s basketball team “nappy-headed hos” following their loss to Tennessee in a NCAA national championship game. A national uproar ensued with sponsors pulling out of his nationally syndicated CBS radio show and the TV simulcast on MSNBC. And led to Imus getting the boot from both employers. 
And yes, Jon Corzine, the Governor of New Jersey, who was on his way to attend a ‘peace meeting’ between Imus and the Rutgers team, met with an accident – his SUV was going over 90mph & the Governor riding in the front seat wasn’t buckled up. Corzine broke his left thigh bone, 11 ribs, collarbone and chest bone. He also fractured a vertebra in his lower back. It seems till the accident, Corzine has been a proponent of seat belt usage. As a U.S. senator in 2001, Corzine proposed having the federal government direct states to pass laws requiring children under age 16 to wear seat belts. Bingo!

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