Nike’s Controversial Ad? Nope, it’s not Nike’s.


The ad reads,

“The Only Thing Worse Than Going to the Ballet Is Going to the Ballet to Watch Your Son.” The tagline reads: “Raise a Champion.”

Now, if you’re gay or lesbian, you would totally be offended by this ad.  It is noteworthy that the ad was implying that “straight and masculine” fathers prefer to not have their sons join the ballet but would rather have them play as linebackers because it is MASCULINE.  Wouldn’t this ad irritate the heck out of you?

Well, relax.  It has been clarified by CMYK magazine, who published the ad, that this is simply a STUDENT AD and not related to NIKE whatsoever.  It is for students who are studying copywriting and art direction.

Nike has issued a statement as follows and CYMK Magazine responded:

Nike Statement

The 42nd edition of CYMK Magazine features numerous fictitious advertisements incorporating the actual trademarks of various brands. This creative content is routinely submitted by design students for their portfolios and competition. One such fictitious ad featuring Nike football (soccer) footwear and creative elements contains language that is considered offensive and not consistent with Nike’s values.

We have already been in touch with CYMK Magazine. Their editorial team has agreed to take appropriate steps to clarify the nature of this fictitious ad both on their website and next issue of their publication. They have also issued an apology for causing confusion among many Nike consumers who viewed the originally published content.

And here’s CYMK’s President and CEO’s response:

It has been brought to my attention through a couple of blogs and organizations that a fictitious print advertisement for Nike, Inc., published on page 10 of the most recent issue of CMYK Magazine, has offended some people – namely in the gay and lesbian communities. Please know that this ad created by an art student is in no way affiliated with Nike, nor does it express the views and opinions of Nike, Inc.

To offer some background, CMYK Magazine publishes juried work from art students studying advertising (copywriting and art direction), design, illustration and photography.
The work published in CMYK Magazine is chosen from thousands of submissions and final selections are determined by notable art-design professionals.

The class assignment in question reads as follows: “The Only Thing Worse Than Going to the Ballet Is Going to the Ballet to Watch Your Son.” The tagline reads: “Raise a Champion.”

The context in which I, personally, read the ad was as a rather risqué parody on the old-fashioned notion that macho guys don’t wants their sons to join the ballet in favor of playing linebacker for the local high school football team.

As with all “art,” there are multiple interpretations. What determines a piece of art’s meaning hinges on the context in which each individual brings to the piece.

While I cannot speak for the student who created the ad, or the judge who selected it, I would like to sincerely apologize to anyone — and every organization as a whole – who takes personal offense by the publishing of this class assignment.

I assure you it was not my intent – or the intent of anyone affiliated with CMYK Magazine – to defame or cause harm to any person or social organization as a result of publishing this piece. Please know that your feedback and commentary to this ad has been heard loud and clear, and I welcome more of your opinions.

I hope you accept my apology and, most importantly, thank you for your time and consideration.

Very Sincerely,
Curtis Clarkson
CMYK Magazine, Inc.

Okay okay guys – STOP harrassing NIKE  okay?  Case closed.


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