Nike says it’s digusted by the dogfighting allegations facing football star Michael Vick and has suspended the release of its latest Michael Vick shoe. In a statement, the sneaker giant says: “Nike is concerned by the serious and highly disturbing allegations made against Michael Vick and we consider any cruelty to animals inhumane and abhorrent.” But dogfighting, it seems, may be OK if it can lend some street cred to a Nike commercial. An AdFreak reader points us to a 2003 Nike basketball commercial called “The Battle: Speed,” which includes a short clip of two chained dogs straining to attack each other. Writing for Slate the same year, Rob Walker called out the ad: “Hoops, sneakers, the Neptunes, graffiti, and big snarling dogs that you know on sight you’d better cross the street to avoid. Nike’s brand czars probably know as much about the signifiers of ‘urban edginess’ as anybody on the planet—or at least as much as anybody in the marketing business. They know that they don’t have to ‘support’ organized dogfighting to add a little edge to the brand.” Has Nike simply learned its lesson since then?
—Posted by Tim Nudd