Reebok ad gets the boot ...
"Those who say it can't be done shouldn't interrupt those doing it," is a quote I heard a long time ago. I can't remember who said it first, but it's become one of my favourites and I use it at every relevant opportunity. Sadly, relevant opportunities arise too often.
So many folk seem to moan & groan and blame all around them if things aren't right - yet few try improving things themselves. "They should ....... blah, blah, blah," one hears, a dozen times a day ". I'm sure you hear it too. People constantly referring to a mystical "They". So, OK, in some 'wars,' "They" may come out winners - but there's lots of smaller 'battles' ordinary people can win. Here's an example.
Giant sportswear manufacturer, Reebok, that likes adding the word 'England' to it's own logo -- and completely plastering it's product's with the British 'Union Jack'. All this, in spite of being one of the world's biggest users of Asian sweat-shop labour.
Recently, a Reebok television advert shocked many people in Britain. It featured American rapper, '50 Cent'. In the ad, a shot is heard, then the rapper counts slowly to nine -- the number of times he was shot, in New York, in 2000. "Who you planning to massacre next?" he asks, then laughs. Next, Reebok's slogan "I am what I am," appears.
Lucy Cope, a grieving mother whose son, Damien, was shot dead in London in 2002, saw the ad. She couldn't believe what she was watching & hearing in her own living room on her own TV. " I felt physically sick. My heart stopped," she said. "I wish Damien could have survived nine bullets. It took only one to end his life". So she decided it was time to take action -- along with 36 more UK mothers who had lost their children to gun killings. "Kids look up to 50Cent. They think if it's cool for him, it's cool for them. But, no one is a hero if they're involved with guns," said one mother.
Lucy and the other mothers decided to take on Reebok. They first collected signatures on a petition. Dozens of complaints lodged with the Advertising Standards Authority soon followed. The big stores were contacted and asked not to stock Reebok products unless they pulled their tasteless ad. Next, the women canvassed the wider British public, asking them to boycott both Reebok themselves -- and shops continuing to sell Reebok goods while the ad still aired.
Now, after a long hard slog, these determined ladies' campaign has finally finished.
The mighty Reebok continue to run their offensive advert across most of the globe -- but NOT in Britain. They've now withdrawn the ad from all UK television screens.
© 2005 Richard Morrison