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Nike campaign stirs charges of homophobia

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nike_small_blog.jpgNike’s new ad campaign for its Hyperdunk shoe is causing a stir.

The six new spots from Wieden & Kennedy, which are starting to surface before the shoe debuts later this month, include variations on two basketball players with one getting a face full of crotch as the other jumps past him. Taglines include “Say Hello,” “That Ain’t Right,” “Now You Know,” “Isn’t That Cute, “Punks Jump Up” and “Fly.”

Some bloggers are taking exception to the campaign, arguing that the ads portray humiliation in a not-so-gay-friendly sort of way. Queers United says the ads “create an atmosphere of homophobia and associate gay acts with shame and embarrassment.” The Gay Recluse calls the campaign “a piece of shit” and suggests Nike contribute $1 billion to combat homophobia and bolster HIV prevention efforts.

Comments on the Gay Recluse run the gamut, from arguing that the ads aren’t homophobic to others suggesting they won’t be buying Nike products any longer. I don’t get the anti-gay angle to all of this. To me, the ads are typical of macho sports-oriented marketing – wear these shoes and you’ll humiliate your opponent. Where’s the gay in that? –Matt Hennie

Also: Cyd Zeigler agrees; those who don't play or enjoy basketball don't get the ad.

Matt Hennie blogs on Atlanta’s sports scene at Gaytlsports.com.