Friday, April 22, 2005

Nike Just Says No to Racism

Boogie mentioned this to me last week. Nike is running a series of European PSAs that plead for tolerance and just say no to racism. But does that mean yes to more profits? Manchester United defender Gary Neville and others accuse the sportswear giant of cashing in and gaining some cheap publicity with it's Stand UpSpeakUp campaign. The gospel according to Neville: "We don't have a big problem with racism in this country."

Huh? Apparently Neville's experience is far different than that of teammate Rio Ferdinand. Uber-gorgeous Rio and France Arsenal's Thierry Henry star in Nike's commercial and print campaign that preaches tolerance in sport. Their campaign also promotes inter-locking black and white wristbands to show solidarity. Nike is also a sponsor of the famed Manchester team.

Instead of standing up and speaking up, Gary Neville may want to sit down and be quiet. Nike is underwriting the campiagn as a public service awareness, so it's a donation. Sure, they'll probably get some mileage out of this, but the company makes much money money from being associated with the Manchester team. The wristbands are free, suggested donations are 2Euros, approx. USD$2.61. Those profits go to an anti-racism foundation in the UK.

Memo to Gary Neville: What community work have you done lately, mate?

Stand UpSpeakUp: Nike
Rio's Hot Ad for Ben Sherman