I go to great lengths to not be political with my blog. There are many issues I feel quite passionate about and a blog is a perfect place for me to express my views, but I choose not to.
The reason is simple: This is a blog about ideas on branding and marketing, creativity, leadership and design. The last thing I want to do is run people off, start an argument or open myself up for attack. The very last thing I want to do is polarize and piss off potential readers.
Pissing people off should not be the purpose of an ad campaign, but that is exactly what Nike has done this week. In one fell swoop, they’ve taken their brand to a whole new level, and depending on who you ask, it is either elevated to new heights or plopped in the toilet.
If you’ve read other posts of mine, you have seen me call into question the validity of brands taking on social issues. Making commentary and judgements on the morals of those who do not believe like some corporate giant is just plain wrong. I am 100% a believer in free speech, and I do not want to tell any media department how to spend their money, but this move certainly cannot be good for business.
Especially for a company like Nike who in the past has been accused of all kinds of heinous acts.
If you are a for-profit enterprise with shareholders to answer to, you are irresponsible for picking a side in an argument. By taking a side you are consciously choosing to alienate the other side. That’s bad for business, and you’re in business to make money, not political statements.
Full disclosure: I have been a fan and ardent defender of Nike for years. As noted, Phil Knight’s Shoe Dog was one of my favorite books. I’ve run in various Nike’s for years. And I have always loved the notion (because it’s more than a slogan) of Just Do It. Not so much any more. I will not be burning my running shoes, shorts and such. But if they are trying to create change, they’ve done it. I won’t support them any longer.