Nike said today it will drop ads for its Hyperdunk basketball shoes that critics said played off some viewers’ homophobia.
In its second statement on the controversy, Nike said it would withdraw advertising critics found offensive “to underline our ongoing commitment to supporting diversity in sport and the workplace.”
Nike spokesman Bob Applegate told The Oregonian that three separate print, poster and billboard ads would be removed “as expeditiously as possible.” The ads were created by Portland’s Wieden+Kennedy and titled “That Ain’t Right,” “Isn’t That Cute,” and “Punks Jump Up.” He declined further comment.
At least two well-trafficked blogs – Gawker.com and ESPN’s TrueHoop — along with comments posted on Wieden+Kennedy’s own blog WKStudio, called on Nike to withdraw at least one ad appearing along the streets and subways of New York City.
I can fully understand why a large corporation like Nike would want to appear sensitive in this matter — particularly when called on the carpet by Gawker Media, truly the conscience of the nu-media as we know it. That said, I do not believe one is necessarily a homophobe because they are afraid of looking like Frederic Weis .