Monday, September 10, 2018

CORPORATE IMAGE

When I heard about Nike stock going down after the Colin Kaepernick decision, I thought, "Of course! Rich white guys probably own most of their stock and they hate all that kneeling for the anthem stuff, but since Kaepernick is really speaking out about injustice and brutality, and young people are trending progressive these days, they will love the decision, and buy, buy, buy."  It appears my gut was right. Cha ching! 

Of course, Nike seeming progressive and being progressive are quite different things, as the following article fully explains.

(Jeffrey St. Clair at Counter Punch.org)

"Nike changes its brand more often than Madonna and more profitably. In the company’s latest transformation, Nike has risked–make that sought–the ire of Donald Trump and his drones by making Colin Kaepernick the face of its latest campaign under the inspiring slogan: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Kaepernick’s brief presence in an otherwise sentimental ad triggered a tweet from Trump and a boycott by the Deplorables, who took to burning their overpriced footwear. It was precisely the response Nike wanted and sales of Nike products have surged over the last week. With social justice icon Kaepernick fronting the brand, no one will be thinking about Nike’s wretched labor practices inside its sweatshops in Honduras, Indonesia and Vietnam. This is a proven formula for the company. When Nike was under intense public scrutiny in the 1990s, it recruited civil rights legend Andrew Young to whitewash the company’s record. The image changed, but the cruel conditions didn’t. Now, with the company rocked by sexual harassment charges against some of its top executives, Nike’s betting that Kaepernick will refrain from speaking out against the dismal practices of his employer. Michael Jordan, Tiger Woods and LeBron James have all remained mute about the savage treatment of the workers who make the shoes and apparel that are sold under their image. So as a reminder who Nike really is under the patina of its pitchmen, we’re running this excerpt from my book Born Under a Bad Sky.–JSC"

* * * * * * *

"The reason companies like Nike pay people like Michael Jordan $20 million is that their profits depend more on the image of the company than the quality of their products. That’s why direct pressure on the corporations such as Nike, The Gap, and Disney may be the most effective consumer strategy of all. Disney, for example, could not long withstand a campaign that tells people that Mickey Mouse t-shirts are made by Haitian kids in oppressive sweatshops where they aren’t paid enough to eat. “If Americans knew what was going on down here, the yelling, the hitting, the abuse,” says Wendy Diaz, “I’m sure that they would help stop the maltreatment.”

(The book by Jeffrey St. Clair)

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