"Nike asked us last month to join the anti-racism campaign".
February 1, 2005 12:33 PM   Subscribe

Stand Up, Speak Up -- Against Racism (and for Nike) A new campaign against the ugly, very present problem of racism in the game of soccer, with soccer stars like Thierry Henry and Rio Ferdinand. An elegant (if more than a bit tame and unimaginative) new ad by Wieden+Kennedy. The campaign aims to encourage fans to wear interlocked black-and-white wristbands as a symbol of their stand against racism, which can be bought for €2, or £1.50 in the UK.
In every Nike store near you. (more inside)
posted by matteo (32 comments total)
I was told there was more inside.
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:38 PM on February 1, 2005

The bands will also be worn by players across Europe from the end of January, and money raised by their sale will go to the Stand Up Speak Up fund, to conduct research into racism in football, and distribute money to organisations in Europe that are working on the problem.
The English version also features Manchester United star Ruud Van Nistelrooy, while Real Madrid's Roberto Carlos lines up for the Spanish version alongside Barcelona's Carlos Puyol.
The campaign comes after Henry was racially insulted by Spanish coach Luis Aragones, who called him a "negro dei mierda". Henry said he would "forgive but never forget".
English players, including Ashley Cole, also faced racist monkey taunts when they played Spain in November. The Spanish Football Federation was fined just £45,000 by Fifa for the behaviour of fans.

The advertisement is completely silent until the endline, with the players holding up signs to get their message across, telling fans "We need your voices to drown out the racists wherever you hear them". At the end of the English spot, Van Nistelrooy says "stand up", while Henry delivers the line "speak up".

The campaign breaks in the UK on February 1, and in France, Germany, Spain, the Netherlands and Italy on February 5.

we already discussed Nike's Live Strong campaign. Triangulation is fine and dandy, but when (sweatshop-loving) megacorporations aim to become civil rights activists we get so meta it isn't even funny.
posted by matteo at 12:40 PM on February 1, 2005

There we go! Yay matteo!
posted by TwelveTwo at 12:55 PM on February 1, 2005

we already discussed Nike's Live Strong campaign. Triangulation is fine and dandy, but when (sweatshop-loving) megacorporations aim to become civil rights activists we get so meta it isn't even funny.

Well, a lot of the time these days, taking a benign "anti-racist," stance is often used as a quick (and most importantly, safe, since the only people offended by anti-racist stances would be racists) way of showing what a swell guy one is.

"Sir, we caght you cooking and eating babies in your kitchen, you monster."

"But look at my anti-racist wristband."

"Well, I guess you're not all bad."

Racism won't be removed by wristbands anymore than global warming will stopped by more songs by Sting, but I suppose most people who will wear these hearts are in the right place, They're just confusion gesture with action.
posted by jonmc at 12:57 PM on February 1, 2005

Yeah, there's more than a touch of irony in Nike pushing an end to racism while employing sweat shop labor to make their schlock.

Is it irony or am I confusing it with hypocrisy?

I'm all for ending racism in sports and the rest of the world but not so Nike can make a buck and continue to employ children in sub-poverty level conditions.
posted by fenriq at 12:59 PM on February 1, 2005

Interesting thing about these Livestrong wristbands is I am starting to see generic ripoffs all over the place. Some upward of 10 dollars. I just saw a pack with different colors and phases called "Baller bracelets" by Nike nonetheless. Talk about surfing a trend.
posted by Dr_Octavius at 1:05 PM on February 1, 2005

Back on topic. As long as the money is going to the advertised destination I don’t see any problem with fashion based charity. Granted from Nike’s point of view this is just another advertisement or “brand development”.
posted by Dr_Octavius at 1:14 PM on February 1, 2005

I though ribbon magnets were the new lapel ribbons of the 21st century. Now it's rubber wristbands? I quit. I just can't keep up.
posted by psmealey at 1:16 PM on February 1, 2005

Once the real Racists catch a glimpse of those rubber wristbands, they'll probably arrest themselves for hatecrimes!
posted by dhoyt at 1:19 PM on February 1, 2005

Nike: You're either with us, or with the racists.
posted by lobstah at 1:20 PM on February 1, 2005

(matteo, you should consider a SportsFilter membership. Our throngs of footie fans will love to have you.)
posted by terrapin at 1:20 PM on February 1, 2005

ribbon magnets = US
rubber wristbands = Europe
posted by kika at 1:22 PM on February 1, 2005

Well, hey. At least it's not a red armband. Not THAT would be ironic.
posted by psmealey at 1:22 PM on February 1, 2005

I am starting to see generic ripoffs all over the place. Some upward of 10 dollars.

At the height of the Live Strong wristband thing, this summer, when the Foundation could not get enough of them, they were going on eBay for over $100.

I think it was very telling that people would rather pay $100 for a $5 wristband so they could look like they cared, instead of donating $100 to cancer research and have no one know about their charity.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:27 PM on February 1, 2005

The Washington Post had an article recently about the wristband "phenomenon" and while I didn't read it in detail, the gist of it was that kids collect the damn things. They have apparently become some sort of status symbol.

It seems to me that the proliferation of these wristbands only serves to dilute the message they are intended to convey.

[On Preview ... and I can't believe I am saying this ... what Steve said too.]
posted by terrapin at 1:30 PM on February 1, 2005

An acquaintance of mine is in the upper Nike marketing echelon. When the livestrong campaign exploded, all he could talk about was how many wristbands had been sold, how great the marketing value of this was - considering how little money all of it did cost them... the word "cancer" or "help" were never spoken.
I don't mind big companies pitching in on general "safe the world and it's people" effort, but Nike should have a few other priorities first.
Since, when it comes to enhancing it's stock value Nike just doesn't display any particular care and respect for the people at the bottom of it's food chain.

I always thought it would be interesting to find out, what security precautions were taken in the rubber band production (made in China) and if the process was at all linked to cancer or other illnesses... it is plastic after all...
posted by threehundredandsixty at 1:40 PM on February 1, 2005

... and on the notion of "we got so much bang for the buck" i find the astronomical production value of the "anti-racism" commercial noteworthy...
posted by threehundredandsixty at 1:44 PM on February 1, 2005

Trendy posers are just as much to blame, as Nike.

It is to the point now that any time I see a Live Strong wristband, it induces the gag reflex.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 1:54 PM on February 1, 2005

Yeah, I'm in agreement with Steve as well.

I can't remember where I saw it but there was a satire poster highlighting this "Look at me doing good" mentality as opposed to actually doing good. The same goes for the celebrities lapping up the press coverage of their over the top tsunami relief donations. Yes, its a good thing but let it be a good thing without you having to slather it all over your ego.

Oops, damned preview and now I'm back to disagreeing with Steve again, phew. Just because they were a wristband doesn't mean that that is all they do, Steve. My mother wears the band and also vollunteers time to cancer patients and donates more money to worthy causes than most anyone else I know.
posted by fenriq at 2:02 PM on February 1, 2005

i wore one of the livestrong bracelets because a co-worker bought and handed out several of them after learning that her brother had survived cancer. it broke a little while ago, and i refuse to buy a new one for reasons cited by s@l and others.

interestingly, i did once hear a comment "he's wearing one of those lance armstrong bracelets, so he can't be that bad a person" back when i wore it, which greatly amused me b/c it came from a white woman with her child while i was minding my own buisness at a shoe store. she had been threatening to send him off with me b/c he was misbehaving and she was getting tired of him. the kid, unfortunately, had no response. i would love to have known what he was thinking!

anyway, i hope these fitba (/irvine welsh) bracelets will have some impact, even if a big bad corporate mofo is behind them, b/c i was greatly disappointed to learn about racist chants coming from the crowds in europe. it's always saddening to see how many hearts have been tainted with the stain of virulent racism.
posted by lord_wolf at 2:15 PM on February 1, 2005

There's some predictable stabs at Nike here for its labor practices. So, for the sake of balance, here and here are a couple of good articles by Radley Balko, a good libertarian writer, about the benefits associated with "sweatshop" labor in developing countries.

I'm not sure I completely buy it, but I do think that he makes some cogent points.

On an unrelated note, Nike's commercials rule.
posted by AgentRocket at 2:18 PM on February 1, 2005

Do these wrist bands vibrate?...seriously, what do these wrist bands actually serve a purpose for?

Is today's charity a trend to be worn so people will then give? Or, is today's charity a gift given back to you so it seems you are actually making a purchase for yourself?
posted by thomcatspike at 2:40 PM on February 1, 2005

Henry did a press conference for this wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt.
posted by First Post at 2:42 PM on February 1, 2005

Or, is today's charity received when a gift is given back to you which in reality is a purchase for yourself?
posted by thomcatspike at 2:43 PM on February 1, 2005

Henry did a press conference for this wearing a Che Guevara t-shirt.


I love the image. there you have Shevchenko, the nice, shy Ukrainian's mama boy, all dressed up in a suit and tie (Armani's a friend of his, after all), Ronaldinho playing the good corporate employee and sporting his employer's logo.
and then poor Henry, in one of the greatest politics-and-sports-don't-mix-well WTF moments -- at least since Mike Tyson got himself a Che tattoo
posted by matteo at 3:00 PM on February 1, 2005

There's a song "Crimes against Humanity" by a hip hop group called "Fermented Reptile"... look it up on your music filesharing client of choice if you like. It has the best verse about racism in sports I've ever heard. Also see "Letters Never Sent"...

"It's disgusting how you spilled blood, took a great warrior's name, and used it for your sporting club, a chance to sell the game. Eliminate hate, that's what your country cries, "racism must die" is what you commercialize.

The masses even cry stop, let's raise our children up properly, teach them to hold hands, preserve our culture on this free land. But I've seen you at the top, when your team's in the lead doing the Tomahawk chop, feeling proud.

Well you chant at the match but if a first nations person had a chance they would chop you in half. Macaq indian acting brave in Atlanta, Kansas City Chiefs battling redskins.

You've spat on the graves of dead men, showing lack of respect, and use black and white propaganada to help you to deflect the crimes against humanity that still exist in a democratic country whose blueprints came on a ship."
posted by anthill at 3:12 PM on February 1, 2005

Just because they were a wristband doesn't mean that that is all they do

I never said that. I'm saying that the trendy feel-good posers are ruining it for people like your mother, who do good work.
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 3:18 PM on February 1, 2005

Alright, fair enough, Steve. Thanks for clarifying.
posted by fenriq at 3:47 PM on February 1, 2005

Nothing related to the wristbands, but there was just a good show at the Rhona Hoffman gallery in Chicago (...aaand looking it up i see that it ended... this weekend) with work by Lyle Ashton Harris all about soccer racism.
posted by ruby.aftermath at 4:33 PM on February 1, 2005

I love slacktivism.

(PS. We're all going to die screaming from our computers and tv couches and nothing will ever change.)
posted by JGreyNemo at 7:46 PM on February 1, 2005

1. It's called football and not soccer.

2. Corporate Saints suck.

3. But racists suck even more.
posted by homodigitalis at 1:08 AM on February 2, 2005

There were a load of people wearing these silly blue rubber wristbands to support the stop bullying campaign recently. By the time I decided to voice my support they had sold out in the shops. I got round this by going down to my local swimming baths and kicking seven shades of tipp-ex out of some children before stealing their locker key wristbands.

Job done.
posted by longbaugh at 3:54 AM on February 2, 2005

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