BACKBITE

I’m not ashamed to admit that this point has already been made, but just to add my voice to the thousands of others, how did Nike get Euro 96 so wrong?

I’m not ashamed to admit that this point has already been made, but just

to add my voice to the thousands of others, how did Nike get Euro 96 so

wrong?



The disastrous posters are supposed to be coming down, but, as I write

this, I still can’t drive half a mile in London without seeing one or

more of these eyesores. With their combination of arrogance and sheer

wrongness they’ve got up the nose of every self-respecting sports fan in

the land.



As if the hollow ‘Venables quit now’ was not enough, we are still

bombarded by Cantona’s statement about destroying English football and

the smug faces of players who haven’t even kicked a ball in Euro 96 -

Ferdinand and Ginola, to name but two. And what about Agassi in this

week’s TV ad after he was bounced out of Wimbledon by a complete

unknown?



Yes, I know sporting heroes are what the Nike brand is all about. I’ve

marvelled at the John McEnroe and Michael Jordan spots. I’ve bought Nike

products because the ads made you feel that you really could take on

elements of this or that sporting demigod.



But I’m coming to the view that - even for balsamic-vinegar-using

southern journalists like me who are tempted to watch every commercial

in inverted commas - the secret of encouraging maximum enjoyment from an

ad is to depict a world that approximates vaguely the world that most of

us inhabit.



Hardly ever do I meet glossy prats like the stars in Nike posters, but I

encounter ordinary blokes like Umbro’s three mates gossiping in a pub

every day. That convincing ad gets my prize for Euro 96 in the following

categories - creativity, relevance, humour, propensity to buy. It’s just

so right.



Dan Wieden’s ‘Just do it’ is a fine sentiment, but it was never intended

to absolve Nike from any obligation towards accuracy, nor from engaging

and entertaining its audience. So do us all a favour Nike - quit now.