Nike pulls magazine ad after complaints

Thursday, October 26th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

BEAVERTON, Ore. (AP) _ For the second time in a month, Nike has withdrawn an advertisement and apologized after complaints that material intended as humorous was considered offensive.

Last time, it was a television commercial featuring middle-distance runner Suzy Favor Hamilton fleeing a chainsaw-wielding maniac in a parody of various horror movies. The commercial was quickly yanked from Nike's Olympics lineup last month after complaints flooded network TV offices.

This time, it was a magazine ad that spoofed the dangers of trail running but contained material that drew complaints that it was insulting to the disabled.

The ad for the Air Dri-Goat trail running shoe claims it will prevent a runner from slamming into a tree and ``rendering me a drooling, misshapen, non-extreme-trail-running husk of my former self, forced to roam the Earth in a motorized wheelchair with my name embossed on one of those cute little license plates you get at carnivals or state fairs, fastened to the back.''

Nike spokesman Lee Weinstein said the ad appeared in several national and regional outdoor and backpacking magazines this month but the Beaverton-based company has ordered it removed from any future editions.

``We have a long and diverse record of supporting disabled athletes, and we're extremely and sincerely apologetic,'' Weinstein said.

A corporate apology also was posted on the Nike Web site, noting that ``disabilities of any form are no laughing matter.''

Wieden & Kennedy, the Portland advertising agency that prepared the magazine ad also produced the Hamilton TV commercial.

Weinstein said he talked with Wieden & Kennedy officials and ``they unequivocally said this was just plain stupid.''

Dan Wieden, co-founder of the firm, also issued an apology.

``We have stepped over the line with his advertisement and there is no excuse for it,'' Wieden said.