Motherhood, insanity and everyday life.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

The Most Irresponsible TV Commercial...Ever

On Saturday, January 28th, 2006, while watching the Marquette vs. Pittsburgh Big East basketball game, I saw a Nike commercial for Air Total Force Max shoes. This commercial, which ran several times, basically consists of young men dunking the basketball. Interspersed with the scenes of the men dunking, is a young boy setting a ladder up in front of the basketball hoop. He sits on top of this six-foot ladder and eventually stands up, leaps to the basket and hangs on the rim. In very tiny type at the bottom of the screen, it says: “do not attempt.” My first thought upon seeing this was: "Are they INSANE?!"

This commercial is one of the most irresponsible marketing ploys I have seen in years. Despite the tiny disclaimer on the screen, I can only imagine how many young kids are hauling ladders out of garages in an attempt to perform a slam dunk. Nike should be held responsible for any injuries or, God forbid, deaths that occur as a result of this commercial.

If you are a parent, you know that kids don’t listen to what you say (“do not attempt”), they watch what you do and if it looks cool, they try it. This attempt at selling basketball shoes by appealing to young kids’ dreams of dunking is dangerous.

I wonder if anyone else has complained about this commercial or if I'm the lone person that has a significant problem with this. I have e-mailed Nike with my letter of complaint and plan on sending letters to the NCAA, The Big East, Marquette and anyone else associated with college basketball. I just think this is so wrong and irresponsible.

If you'd like to join me in my efforts to get this commercial pulled from television, you can start here:

Mr. Phil Knight, CEO
Nike World Headquarters
One Bowerman Drive
Beaverton, OR 97005


At 9:58 AM , Anonymous JustSue said...

Here via Michele. I don't agree with you, but you are entitled to your views.

At 10:01 AM , Blogger rashbre said...

I doubt whether this would make it to UK television, for the reason you describe.

In the UK we have the Advertising Standards Authority guidelines which expressly forbid the type of thing you describe. Presumably ther is an American equivalent?

And - Hello, Michele sent me.


At 10:18 AM , Blogger Radioactive Jam said...

I can think of specific kids who *would* try this, having seen it, and some who would have enough sense to not try. Don't see any reason for Nike to give such ideas to the first ones; I'm wondering - what is the POINT of the commercial? I haven't seen it yet but from the description it just sounds stupid. How would this trigger the urge-to-buy effect?

One thing that might foil copycat attempts: a regular six-foot ladder should still leave a young child at least several intimidating feet away from a standard-height rim. Taller ladders are both heavier and less common. Still, who wants to rely on those kinds of things for prevention?

The ad sounds irresponsible (and stupid) to me.

Here via Michele's.

At 3:55 PM , Anonymous Stephanie Davies said...

Here via Michele's...I don't really agree with you either. I think there a lot more serious issues with our children than whether they will copy a Nike commercial or not (I know my 8 year old son wouldn't just try something because he saw it on TV...he watches all kinds of things and knows the difference between television and real life). But as JustSue said, you are entitled to your views :)

At 4:10 PM , Blogger srp said...

This is dangerous because some kids are stupid. Of course parents who don't lock up the ladder are stupid too. I don't like the fact that sports stars can get lucrative endorsements from Nike and others when they have basically paid someone off to avoid criminal prosecution. I have no respect for most of the NBA.

BTW, Michele sent me.

At 6:27 PM , Blogger chronicler said...

Hi via Michele's Karen! I totally agree! When they put those disclaimers in they should have some culpability as they know kids will try anything at least once!

At 6:35 PM , Blogger The Mistress of the Dark said...

Here via Michele's. I agree and disagree with you. I don't think our kids need to be given any more stupid ideas. They get enough from every other form of media and from the world itself, but it's also the parents responsibility to make sure our kids know that you don't do the stupid things that are portrayed in commericals and tv shows and on Beavis and Butthead.

At 6:41 PM , Blogger Carmi said...

It seems every ad these days has some sort of "do not attempt" warning attached to it. From car commercials where they sail the things off of open drawbridges to something like this, they seem to feel it's OK to imply one thing when it has no basis in reality.

But since image sells, guess which way they take us.

It's a ruse. We buy it, so the game goes on.

At 10:15 PM , Anonymous Erin said...

Wow I haven't seen this commercial yet but I totally agree with you! Good for you for taking some action about it.

I haven't been here in a few weeks! Here from Michele's tonight. Have a great week and I'll be stoppin by again soon!

At 7:21 AM , Blogger kenju said...

Karen, I didn't see that commercial - but I agree wholeheartedly!

Michele sent me this time.

At 6:35 PM , Blogger Jess Riley said...

Here! :-)

I haven't seen this one, but the latest commercial in my irritation crosshairs is of the four perky preggos handing their Chrysler Pacifica over to a valet at some danceclub. Come on!!!!

At 7:01 AM , Blogger Sandy said...

I'm in the middle on this too. I agree it's an irresponsible commerical yet I'm not sure I take as hard a stance as you've taken.

For people, however, that don't think it would entice children/teens to attempt such a feat - you've obviously missed the stories liked to the show "Jackass."

If you are serious about writing letters, it might not hurt to include the ad agency in your list. Although it's the corporation that finally approves the spot and sends it out for show, it's the agency that develops the concept and produces the commerical. Those firms need to know that what they think is going to sell, isn't. An ad agency is a business, if it won't make their customers money it won't make them money. If it doesn't make money, they don't bother with it. Their goal is to make an ad that gets buyers into stores. If the know their marketing strategy is off they move onto the next direction.

At 10:43 AM , Blogger Juliabohemian said...

I agree with your concern. That is irresponsible marketing. However I think you should give people a little more credit. If someone is such a poor supervisor of their children that they have the opportunity to take a full sized ladder to a local basketball court without being noticed, then I say they had it coming. Seriously. I mean there have been shows for years that had stunts like that and I never felt compelled to try any of them. (And I was one of those kids who insisted on jumping off the roof into the pool etc.)
This reminds me of that whole scandal with Ozzie Osbourne in the 80's where some kid supposed killed himself from listening to Ozzie's music. My guess is that kid was already on the verge.
Same kind of thing here.
I don't know.
If you hear of some kid breaking their neck from attempting this stunt, please let me know.

At 12:10 PM , Anonymous Chele In {dot} LA said...

thanks so much for stopping

At 10:02 PM , Anonymous jude said...

yes the sad part is that Nike knows that people will try this, and there small disclaimer is intentionally there to combat expected legal liability claims..


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