.comment-link {margin-left:.6em;} Making Sense: e-Digest of Brand Thinking

Monday, September 19, 2005

Steal This Brand -- Part Two


(This is a follow-up to my 08-26-2005 post)

LEFT: Minor Threat's album cover
RIGHT: NIKE's skatboarding poster


What drives some big companies to do dumb things? Perhaps it's the result of being enormously self focused. They can't conceive of anyone having a problem with their actions. NIKE is a good example. Last July, they blatantly appropriated the cover art from punk band Minor Threat's self-titled debut record and repurposed it for a poster and ad promoting NIKE's skateboarding shoes and an upcoming tour. All without asking the band or the record label (Dischord Records) for permission. As you might imagine, everyone was outraged.

NIKE pulled the posters and posted a letter of apology on its Web site. Here are some excerpts:

"Nike Skateboarding's "Major Threat" Tour poster was designed, executed and promoted by skateboarders, for skateboarders. All of Nike employees responsible for the creation of the tour flyer are fans of both Minor Threat and Dischord Records and have nothing but respect for both."

"Minor Threat's music and iconographic album cover have been an inspiration to countless skateboarders since the album came out in 1984. And for members of the Nike Skateboarding staff, this is no different. Because of the album's strong imagery and because our East Coast tour ends in Washington, DC, we felt that it was a perfect fit. This was a poor judgment call and should not have been executed without consulting Minor Threat and Dischord Records."

"Every effort has been made to remove and dispose of all flyers (both print and digital). Again, Nike Skateboarding sincerely apologizes to Minor Threat and Dischord Records."

So basically, as one who purports to understand the ethos of the underground
skateboarding world, NIKE was just paying homage to it, not stealing from it.

In August, Dischord stated "The members of Minor Threat continue to work on a creative resolution to this matter and will have more to say when an agreement [with NIKE] is finalized. And according to the September issue of Business 2.0, "Dischord now says it's considering legal action."

You have to ask yourself, what was NIKE thinking?


Comments:
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