Monday, February 18, 2013


At one time, there wasn't a company in the world that could market its product like Nike. The
sports apparel giant created campaigns that were edgy, entertaining, and made lasting impressions with its targets audience of kids and young adults. Nike became the product that every kid had to
have and every athlete wanted to endorse.

Nike told us to "Just Do It",  Michael Jordan had us believe that "It's Gotta Be The Shoes", and the
freakish talents of Vincent Jackson had everyone thinking that "Bo Knows" everything. Nike had the big swoosh and the very best slogans to back it up. It seemed that everything Nike touched, turned to gold.

But recently, Nike's marketing machine has been incredibly off target.. It's been burned by a spectacular stable of clients who found themselves immersed in scandal and all those
catchy slogans? Well, they kind of blew up in their faces.

In a commercial extolling the virtues of Lance Armstrong's incredible will and desire, Nike had the
former seven-time winner of the Tour de France ask his critics, "What am I on? I'm on my bike six
hours a day. What are you on?" Ooops. That didn't turn out so well for them, did it? As soon as the
World Anti-Doping Agency stripped Armstrong of all his titles and banned him for life, Nike dropped him like he was piping on, especially after realizing that Armstrng was on a lot more than just his bike.

Several years ago, Nike featured Oscar Pistorius in an ad with the words, "I am the bullet in the
chamber." Oh, man, talk about shooting themselves in the foot. After the South African paralympic
star was charged with murdering his girlfriend by allegedly blasting four bullets through a bathroom door, Nike had another controversy on its hands. They promptly removed that bullet-in-the chamber slogan  from its website. Could there be a worse stroke of bad luck for Nike than having a guy who you compare to a bullet, shooting his girlfriend with four of them?

Over the last decade, Nike has actually misfired badly with many of their superstar athletes. Marion
Jones became the world's fastest woman, but it turned out she was using "the cream", "the clear" and whatever else  Victor Conte was pumping into her body.

Michael Vick was "Mr. Electric" with Nike before he got embroiled in a dogfighting scandal and then
lost everything. Tiger Woods didn't make the big swoosh look too good, either. His massive infidelity
was exposed to the entire world, blowing up his squeaky clean image that he and Nike had carefully
crafted. Nike stood by Tiger and it appears they will be living together happily ever after that salacious scandal.

Even Joe Paterno, the late legendary coach who everyone thought was beyond reproach, embarrassed
the Beaverton, Oregon-based company with his role in the worst scandal in college sports history.
If you can't trust Paterno to maintain a good image the company can be proud of, just who can you trust?

We are finding out there aren't many real live heroes or legends out there anymore. These superstar athletes are mere mortals just like the rest of us that are nicked, flawed, and very imperfect. They certainlycan't be trusted when it comes to avoiding scandals.

As for famous athletes endorsing its product, Nike might have to re-evaluate things and just not do it.

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