Monday, July 4

You Idiots: Marble-mouthed anticapitalism ruins a perfectly good ad campaign

So Nike pissed off Minor Threat by ripping off an album cover.

I'm not into the skate culture at all, or the punk culture; I've always found its socialist trends more than a little naive. The above link, and the Pitchfork press release linked to from there, certainly cement that feeling for me.

The story, essentially, is that Nike's skateboarding division was sponsoring some kind of tour/promo thing they were going to call Major Threat, a riff on one of the seminal CDs of the skater-punk movement, Minor Threat's self-titled debut. They had promotional materials made up as well, that were similarly (i.e. not at all) distanced from Minor Threat. Aaaaand, because Minor Threat and their label hold that Big Corporations are Universally Bad and Just There to Trod on the Little Guy, Let's Go Get Some Beer And Noodle Around On Skateboards Guys OK?, they're 'appalled' and 'disgusted' at Nike's actions.

They have no idea how corporations work.

Now, I don't know anything about the internal structure of Nike Inc. either. What I can tell you is that their skateboarding division is be no means their largest, and that if my experience of corporate culture is comparable it's run by about 6 guys, only 3 of which actually care about skateboarding. The band and the label seem to me to have this idea like Nike Skateboarding's all huge and evil; that 12 guys in black suits are smirking evilly at one another in an oak-panelled boardroom, nodding at a presentation that says

Messing Up The Little Guy -> Big Bux For Us

or something equally sinister. But it's not true! Those 6 guys probably thought they were just spinning a clever take on a well-loved album. That the homage to a band they all like (or else why would they be working for Nike Skateboarding?) would be recognized and appreciated.

Now, they should have asked permission first, for sure. They shouldn't have appropriated Minor Threat's work without compensation or acknowledgement. But that's a minor blunder, and one that makes it even clearer to me that these guys didn't pass the idea by Legal before floating it.

Give them a break, you idiots. You just lower your own credibility when you demonstrate your total lack of cluedness.

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