Nike Inc. (NYSE:NKE) Japan’s video ad portraying the experiences of three soccer players from diverse backgrounds has evoked divided opinions online, with some calling for a boycott of the company’s products.
Nike ad irks social media users
On Monday, the company released a two-minute video exploring racism and bullying using three schoolgirls. The ad titled “The Future isn’t Waiting” shows the schoolgirls bullied because of their race and other differences by they ultimately overcome through their soccer potential. The video has since racked over 14.2 million views and 63,000 likes on Twitter. On YouTube, the video attracted 10 million views with 71,000 and 50,000 likes and dislikes. However, despite some social media users describing the ad as amazing, beautiful, and powerful, some were not impressed.
Some critics say that the video misrepresents modern Japanese society. According to one YouTuber, Momo Azam, Nike has made the Japanese an enemy, but those who don’t know about the ad could continue buying from Nike. The user said that he would never buy Nike again. Another user said the ad is a dangerous presentation leading to the divide, and worse, Nike is making money on top of it.
A user quoted on Soranews24.com said that Japan is not a country full of discrimination and Nike is creating a false impression. Another user reiterated that nowadays, you could see people of different nationalists going to school peacefully, and it is Nike that seems prejudiced.
Japan is ethnically homogenous
It is important to note that Japan is an ethnically homogenous society, with almost 98% of the population considered Japanese. However, heroics of the Japanese multiracial rugby team in the 2019 world cup and the success of tennis player Naomi Osaka who is of Haitian and Japanese heritage, have given mixed heritage people prominence in the public sphere. As a result, this has raised concerns about Japanese identity forcing the nation to challenge unconscious prejudices.
Nike Japan spokesperson said that the ad drew inspiration from real athletes’ testimonials that struggle to feel accepted.