Tuesday, 11 September 2018

Nike: 'turning rebellion into money'

We should of listened closer to the 90's Chumbawamba song That's How Grateful We Are when they said 'they're not concerned with what is to be learned, they sell 501s (Levi jeans) and think it's funny, turning rebellion into money. Can I kick it?'. We should of listened closer to Naomi Klein when she wrote in here book No Logo about brands. We should of listened to the Situationists like when Guy Debord wrote in The Society of the Spectacle 'dissatisfaction itself becomes a commodity' We should of listened but we didn't.

In 2016 Colin Kaepernick, a professional NFL player, refused to stand during the national anthem before American Football games. Protesting during a time of several high profile cases when US police shot young black men he said
"I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color to me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder."

This was a bold protest that I am sure he knew could trigger negative repercussions to his career which it definitely appears to have happened. What Nike are doing with their Kaepernick advertising campaign is the opposite and while just as bold it deserves scorn not praise.

Companies like Nike aren't shoe makers they are brands, their advertising focuses almost exclusively on brand image and not the products they sell. Do you think the ad men at Nike sat in meetings discussing how they can best support Kaepernick and the values he believes in? I suspect the discussion was how it helps build their brand image and drive sales just like it has done. They would have discussed the inevitable backlash to the adverts; what it would say about their brand and how to use that to advertise more. The backlash and media frenzy has been a huge brand building exercise and there is nothing new or good about it because it is just the continued expansion of commodification and consumerism. These actions should be the end of Nike not the making of them.

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