Connect with us

Hi, what are you looking for?

The American GeniusThe American Genius

Business Marketing

Nike pulls bloody “Boston Massacre” shirts, eBay heats up

In light of the national tragedy, Nike pulls “Boston Massacre” shirts from the shelves, but let’s take a deeper look at what this and other companies take advantage of in the name of cash.

nike-boston-massacre

Nike pulls “Boston Massacre” shirts

Nike seems to see dollar signs in any slogan it can print on a shirt no matter how poor taste the phrase might be. The blood-spattered Nike t-shirt printed with the words “Boston Massacre” the company recalled this week after the bombings in Boston (although the slogan was printed prior to the national tragedy) is not the first time the company has had to distance itself from its own products. Overall, it may speak to an ongoing problem in celebrity/sports culture.

So, the New York Yankees and the Boston Red Sox have a big rivalry. Everyone understands that and for the most part, it is usually not worth pondering the somewhat juvenile lengths some people go in their passion and rhetoric for their favorite teams. It is mostly just for fun.

In 1978, the Yankees beat the Red Sox several times in a row and in a play on words referring to the Boston Massacre of American colonists by British soldiers in 1770, the sweep of victories became referred to by the phrase. That is kind of weird in and of itself and doesn’t show the greatest judgment of those who used the phrase, but that all happened in 1978. Still, today Nike has a shirt in its stores talking about something that happened 35 years ago to make money from Yankees fans.

Language relies heavily on modern context

Most of the time, the combat, war, and violence references  used to describe sports contests are likely harmless analogies to a much more serious matter. But at some point the industry that profits from perpetuating that language and perspective has a difficult time unraveling itself from its own language when things go bad.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.

“I am the bullet in the chamber,” read the slogan on Nike ads featuring Oscar Pistorius who has since been accused of shooting his girlfriend dead.  A couple years ago, Boston’s Mayor Menino wrote a letter to Nike asking them to stop selling shirts promoting drug use alongside sports. Nike finally distanced itself from Lance Armstrong after evidence of his drug use became overwhelmingly convincing.

And then there was “Just Do It” and Tiger Woods. Just kidding.

When will they learn?

When, though, will Nike and other companies learn? If they believe their positive slogans promote positive ideals and the sale of their products, what do they think their violent slogans do?

As a company develops its identity, messaging, and associations, it should think ahead to the worst possible outcome of its decisions. Those running companies cannot run around all the time scared about how someone, somewhere might be offended by their every action, but they can be smart. Just don’t do it if you can imagine a plausible scenario during which you will be sorry for the actions of your company.

nike boston massacre shirts

As Nike pulls “Boston Massacre” shirts, eBay users are fetching high dollar for the shirts as they are no longer available through traditional retailers.

Advertisement. Scroll to continue reading.
Written By

David Holmes, owner of Intrepid Solutions, has over 20 years experience planning for, avoiding, and solving crises in the public policy, political, and private sectors. David is also a professional mediator and has worked in the Texas music scene.

Click to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

The
American Genius
news neatly in your inbox

Subscribe to our mailing list for news sent straight to your email inbox.

Advertisement

KEEP READING!

Business Marketing

You’ve surely heard the phrase “pivot to video” countless times over the last few years. It’s the path a lot of media companies are...

Business News

"I just want you to think of us as family," they say. If this were true, I could fire my uncle for always bringing...

Business Marketing

(MARKETING) Email may seem too old to be effective but surprisingly it's not, so how can you get the most out of your email...

Business News

(MARKETING) If you want to stand out from other job applicants, weird outfits, stunts, and baked goods will only get you so far –...

The American Genius is a strong news voice in the entrepreneur and tech world, offering meaningful, concise insight into emerging technologies, the digital economy, best practices, and a shifting business culture. We refuse to publish fluff, and our readers rely on us for inspiring action. Copyright © 2005-2022, The American Genius, LLC.