According to the Wall Street Journal, Nike acted because the new Hyperdunk ads were deemed by some to be offensive to blacks and gays. Which is, in two words, patently absurd. It also raises an interesting question: why can't a sports company just say that their ads are meant for non-idiots?
There has never been a basketball player of any persuasion who wants another man's groin to end up in his face during a dunk on the court. Never. Not gays, not blacks, not Asians, not women, not any player who has ever played the game. That was the idea behind Nike's advertising slogan created by the Wieden and Kennedy advertising agency. The company was proud of their work and posted congratulatory messages on their blog. (If you feel like a little entertainment, go read the comments. Watch as they move from self-congratulatory to angry. You can literally watch the wheels come off as those who are professionally offended swoop in. )
Go back and look at every top dunk of the past fifteen years. A large percentage of those ended up looking exactly like the imagery used in this advertising campaign. It's an iconic image, one that's neither homophobic nor racist. And every single person who got upset about this should go stand in a public park and get dunked on repeatedly. Gay or straight, sweaty balls to the face ain't fun.
Look, we all know that taking offense is our new national pastime. But what should the corporate response be when the people who take offense don't even understand what they're offended about? Not kowtowing to public "outrage", for one thing. But Nike buckled. Welcome to America in 2008: where even getting dunked on has to be tastefully done.
Nike withdraws dunk adds amid flurry of complaints [Wall Street Journal]
Hyperdunk Y'all [Weiden-Kennedy]