Nike is one of those companies that can be irritatingly press shy when you want to write about them but gets antsy if the media ignores it for too long —a case in point being the Olympics — because they have some superstition by which they must spend 11% of their sales on pointless exercises of what it calls "demand creation." (This is like funding one and a half 2008 presidential campaigns every year!) And so because Nike employs a lot of hypercompetitive, marathon-runner-type overachievers all hopped up on Portland caffeine and suffering from a profound lack of purpose*, every few years someone there decides "Just Do It" is not doing it anymore somehow.Maybe the slogan isn't "translating" to an imagined demographic or psychographic of shoe wearers they are trying to target.** Maybe AdBusters made fun of it and they are hurt. Whatever. So they "soft"-launch a new slogan that is invariably totally lame. Last time it was the Special Olympics-y "I Can" and aside from that being totally lame they got sued because someone else thought of it first. But this time the new slogan, targeted at young women in Europe, could be even worse. Because it is: Here I Am. First thought: am I the only Catholic who sees this and thinks, "Be Not Afraid" would actually be a better slogan if you are going to dip into the hymnal, Nike? Okay sure, probably I am, but second thought: Just do it contains the critical imperative phrase "Do it." And you can't deny the many virtues of "do it," no matter how much you hate companies that serve as neat little microcosms of the horrifying redistribution of income globalization hath wrought, because to "do it" is awesome. But to "do it" with someone who is all "Here I Am" about it is a total bonerkiller. It's just so emphatically…passive, right? Maybe I've just got the McCain campaign's recent reference to dead fish on the brain but I am also pretty sure this slogan could be interpreted to be demeaning to women, although I am going to quit now before I actually get a headache.
*What are you, kidding? Ranting for pageviews is fucking life-affirming, dude. You know how they talk about "runner's high"? Well, writing on drugs is my drug. **Specifically women. Like some totally ripped triathlete pumped full of human growth hormone they've become obsessed over the years with the idea that they don't attract enough girls, which is probably the whole reason they don't attract enough girls; please take note here Obama campaign! Oh also, this is an actual Nike ad targeted at women:
(Top image by AdBusters)