Game Recognize Game: Nike x Kobe x Guns?
Just don’t do it.
That would be my stern and rather lordly advice to the suits at Nike now struggling to sell their best Ruben Studdard “I’m Sorry” impersonations to all the world after the company’s ill-advised release of a bevy of ads trumpeting Kobe Bryant’s boast: “I’ll do whatever it takes to win games. I don’t leave anything in the chamber.”
With all due respect to Gilbert Arenas, when did such brazen gun references, or worse yet possession, become such a cool or lighthearted source of communication? Long known for its somewhat edgy and pushing-the-envelope style of advertising, Nike misses the ball from the jump here in daring to prompt both Bryant and co-star LeBron James into striking their most menacing Prisoner Cell Block H promotional poses.
“Prepare for Combat,” reads a slogan pasted next to a picture of the side-by-side stars and the Nike logo. Now, is it just me or does that seem a bit extreme just to peddle sneakers and t-shirts? Particularly, to an already highly-impressionable, youth-oriented market.
Of perhaps equally damning consequence, this all comes on the heels of Arenas and teammate Javaris Crittenton pleading guilty to carrying firearms inside their team’s locker room. Ditto for the eerie prediction of world renown sociologist Dr. Harry Edwards who recently warned: “Somebody is going to wind up shooting up a locker room. It’s happened in courthouses; it’s happened in schools, fast food places, post offices and offices buildings. We had better get on top of this gun thing.”
For all our sakes, Dr. Edwards this is one time I hope you’re way off base. But the Nike ads just left me a little more spooked. – Glenn Minnis