Arthur Woo’s Culture Jam Assignment

This is a Nike Air Jordan advertisement promoting one of the most iconic basketball players of all time, Michael Jordan. Jordan is pictured performing an athletic feat by dunking a basketball over several defenders. One of the reasons Jordan is such an iconic basketball player is his tremendous leaping ability that makes it seems as if he is floating or flying through the air. The problem in this ad is that Nike’s underlying message is that wearing the same basketball sneakers as Jordan, Nike Air Jordans, will allow consumers to fly like Jordan. The basketball game pictured in the advertisement is an outdoor court where anyone can play against anyone. This implies the notion that anyone who buys a pair of Air Jordans has the ability to walk onto a court and fly like Jordan. Therefore, Nike is choosing to ignore that in order for one to be a great basketball player, he or she must put in tireless hours in the gym like Jordan, and repeatedly practice fundamentals such as shooting or dribbling. The consumers of Jordan brand sneakers can range from men to women, and children to adults. This presents another problem as it is well documented that Nike uses slave labour to make these sneakers. They make men, women, and children work in toxic environments just to make enough to live in poverty.

In this jammed advertisement, it highlights the absurdities of transforming into an athletic phenom by wearing a pair of Jordan sneakers and also notes the societal issue of Nike using slave labour to manufacture their shoes. The most notable change is the addition of Michael Jordan dunking a basketball. In this added image, it makes it very apparent that Nike is promoting the player and the sneakers. Upon purchasing the sneakers, one can then play like Jordan, jumping so high, it would be similar to having wings. The wings on Jordan add to the absurdity that wearing the same shoes as Jordan will give the wearer the same leaping ability as Jordan. Furthermore, the slogan “buy like Mike, fly like Mike”, replaces the original slogan as it furthers the Nike’s message one can ignore the notion of practicing in order to improve their basketball skills, and instead buy Jordan brand sneakers. Lastly, the Nike swoosh is replaced with, “Slavery, Just Do It”. This change denotes Nike’s usage of slave labour and their obvious reluctance to advertise that. Nike uses slave labour in order to maximize profits and the athletes who endorse Nike ignore this and continue to promote Nike and improve Nike sales. The signature slogan, “Just Do it” was intended to promote athletes moving and acting rather than thinking and second guessing themselves. But in this instance, “Just Do It” refers to Nike’s lack of thinking in their use of slave labour. Nike acts rather than thinking about the lives of the abused who work in these sweatshops. Nike continually acts to maximize profits at the expense of the less fortunate. This collection of added images aspires to invoke the realistic practices of a large corporations whose main objective is to increase profits and decrease expenses.

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