Wednesday, July 28, 2004

Just Do It? 

"Just Do It." The phrase that Nike built into its mega-market product hawking campaign over the last decade. At first, it is not so bad. All of the images I have seen refer directly to athletic pursuits. I have no beef with Nike.


Why not "Pure Sports" or "Get Active" as a motto? Because Nike test-marketed unknown volumes of themes and mottoes before landing on "Just Do It" as its sole market strategy. Nike, like all big corporations, paid a handsome price to a marketing firm to formulate an image. If we all had a secret peek at the wish list of Nike's corporate leadership when they commissioned the test-marketing, what do you think they wanted. Probably, the list was active, unisex, age-neutral, environmentally conscious, and not just about sports. Nike could not care less that consumers wear their clothing and products for non-athletic reasons. Actually, that is not true. Nike knew on the front end that most consumers would not wear their product for athletic purposes. Nike's goal was to sell products. That is why they had to pick a theme that was "not just about sports" in the first place.

You have used "Just Do It" and it was not in reference to sports. Yes, you have. We all have. We have taken the "do" out and replaced it with any verb that fit our purposes.

I am not writing about Nike and its very successful marketing campaign. You should read this article. There are organizations that have drawn a line and said "no more". Since before my daughter was born, I have been a vocal opponent to recent clothing trends. I am not stuck in time or out-of-date. I just do not appreciate dressing young girls like whores. For balance, I also do not want to see any young boys underwear hanging out the back of his pants. My wife and I have not been to the mall in years when we have not been confronted with an adolescent or even younger child who is foolishly dressed and oversexualized. At first, we just giggled at the wannabe Goth kids. Especially since in Mississippi, there was not a critical mass of peers. Goth kids in MS were a very lonely group. Now, the trend is overtly sexual. There have been days when I had to intentionally focus when teaching college students because nipples were all but uncovered. I can live with college-aged women doing as they wished. However, the assault goes to much younger children and that disturbs me. Corporations are making huge profits selling sex to our children. Parents need to wake up.

Barbie is no longer the standard doll. She is still popular, but she is aging and losing market share rapidly. New on the market is "Bratz" which we are told is a doll "with a passion for fashion." One look at the dolls and you realize how far off track we are. Big, pouty lips, obvious makeup, vogue names, and street-walker clothes. As a parent, my stand is to help my daughter develop values that directly combat the images society bombards us with each day. No Bratz in our home. Period. Dot. The End.

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