Nike



Nike, Inc. (Pronounced: NIGH-KEY) (NYSE: NKE) is a major American manufacturer of athletic shoes, Clothing/apparel, and sports equipment. The company takes its name from the Greek goddess of victory, Nike. Nike markets its products under its own brand as well as Air Jordan, Nike Golf and Team Starter (among others), as well as under brands of wholly owned subsidiaries including Bauer, Cole Haan, Converse, and Hurley International. Nike has been criticised for the working conditions and production methods in the overseas factories with which it contracts.

Nike's influences stretch from its (sometimes criticized) production systems to fashions in themselves while along the way developing technologies (gimmick and functional alike). Their advertisement campaigns often incorporate new sporting ideology, which often involve sponsored athletes like Tiger Woods, Ronaldo and Michael Jordan.

Nike is also well known for its strong sponsorship agreements with athletes, leagues and federations, as well as many of the world's top football (soccer) clubs and national teams, including Manchester United, Arsenal, Juventus, FC Barcelona, Red Star Belgrade, Inter Milan, Borussia Dortmund, PSV Eindhoven, Valencia C.F., Atlético de Madrid, Celtic, FC Porto, Paris Saint-Germain, Brazil, Portugal, the Netherlands, Croatia, Mexico national football team and the United States men's, women's and Australia to produce their equipment. On December 23, 2005, Nike signed a 5-year contract (beginning January 1, 2006) with the India Cricket Team to become their official apparel supplier for $135.6 million. This is more money per-annum than Nike pays the Brazil football team ($16m), Manchester United ($16.8m) or Juventus ($22.2m). Nevertheless Nike does not have an India-specific website or any mention of cricket on Nike.com.

In the documentary The Corporation Chris Belmonte, director of the National Labour Committee shows what he says are Nike's internal pricing documents. The documents show the time it takes the workers in a factory in the Dominican Republic to make a shirt in ten thousandths of seconds, with each shirt taking 6.6141 minutes to make, 9 shirts an hour.

Nike has been criticized for contracting with factories that allegedly use sweatshop labor in countries like China, Vietnam, Indonesia and Mexico. The company has been subject to much critical coverage of the often poor working conditions and exploitation of cheap overseas labor employed in the free trade zones where their goods are typically manufactured. Sources of this criticism include Naomi Klein's book No Logo and Michael Moore's documentaries.

The forced labor camp like conditions in some overseas production plants led to several unsuccessful boycotts, together with coining the alternative name "swooshtika" (a portmanteau of swoosh and swastika) for the company's swoosh logo.

Nike was criticized about ads which referred to empowering women in the U.S. while engaging in practices in East Asian factories which some felt disempowered women.

These campaigns have been taken up by many college campuses, especially free trade groups as well as the United Students Against Sweatshops.

One such website which calls for the boycott of Nike products and states the many abuses is www.saigon.com/~nike

Consumer activist Marc Kasky filed a lawsuit in California regarding newspaper advertisements and letters Nike distributed in response to criticisms of labor conditions in its factories. Kasky claimed that the company made representations that constituted false advertising. Nike responded the false advertising laws did not cover the company's expression of its views on a public issue, and that these were entitled to First Amendment protection. The local court agreed with Nike's lawyers, but the California Supreme Court overturned this ruling, claiming that the corporation's communications were commercial speech and therefore subject to false advertising laws.

The United States Supreme Court agreed to review the case (Nike v. Kasky) but sent the case back to trial court without issuing a substantive ruling on the constitutional issues. The parties subsequently settled out of court before any finding on the accuracy of Nike's statements, leaving the California Supreme Court's denial of Nike's immunity claim as precedent. The case drew a great deal of attention from groups concerned with corporate personhood, as well as anti-sweatshop activists. ReclaimDemocracy.org hosts a comprehensive library on the case, including briefs filed by all parties on both sides of the case.

Nike has been a focus of criticism for their use of the Beatles song "Revolution 1" in a commercial, against the wishes of Apple Records, the Beatles' recording company. Nike paid $250,000 to Capitol Records Inc., which held the North American licensing rights to the Beatles' recordings, for the right to use the Beatles' rendition for a year.

According to a July 28, 1987 article written by the Associated Press, Apple sued Nike Inc., Capitol Records Inc., EMI Records Inc. and Wieden+Kennedy advertising agency for $15 million. Capitol-EMI countered by saying the lawsuit was 'groundless' because Capitol had licensed the use of "Revolution" with the "active support and encouragement of Yoko Ono Lennon, a shareholder and director of Apple."

According to a November 9, 1989 article in the Los Angeles Daily News, "a tangle of lawsuits between the Beatles and their American and British record companies has been settled." One condition of the out-of-court settlement was that terms of the agreement would be kept secret. The settlement was reached among the three parties involved: George Harrison, Paul McCartney, Ringo Starr; Yoko Ono; and Apple, EMI and Capitol Records. A spokesman for Yoko Ono noted, "It's such a confusing myriad of issues that even people who have been close to the principals have a difficult time grasping it. Attorneys on both sides of the Atlantic have probably put their children through college on this."

Nike discontinued airing ads featuring "Revolution" in March 1988. Yoko Ono later gave permission to Nike to use John Lennon's "Instant Karma" in another ad.

In late June 2005, Nike came under fire from independent music fans for their use of an easily identifiable Minor Threat album cover slightly modified into a promotional tool for their line of skateboarding shoes. With Minor Threat being emblematic of the punk subculture, and their former frontman Ian MacKaye (of Fugazi and Dischord Records) being an outspoken champion of true independent music and the DIY ethic, Nike's move to use this image struck many as a cynical attempt by a large, money hungry corporation to target an untapped demographic, undermining what Minor Threat stood for, and what Dischord continues to represent..
On June 27th, Nike Skateboarding's website issued an apology to Dischord, Minor Threat, and anyone else who was offended by their act, and announced that all usage of the image would be removed claiming that the people who designed the ad were skateboarders and Minor Threat fans themselves who created the ad out of respect and appreciation for the band.

In June 2004, Zhu Zhiqiang filed a lawsuit against Nike for plagiarizing Xiao Xiao stickmen in their commercials. Nike representatives denied the accusations, claiming that the stickman figure lacks originality, and is public domain. Zhu eventually won the lawsuit, and Nike was ordered to pay $36,000. However, on June 15, 2006, the Beijing High People’s Court overturned the lower court's verdict. The high court rejected the December ’04 ruling that found Nike had “copied his ‘Little Match Man’ illustration in one of its worldwide ad campaigns.” Judge Liu Hui ruled that the head of Nike’s “stickman wasn’t attached to the body, which was different from Zhu’s design and that the strokes used to draw the Nike figure’s arms and legs were different from Zhu’s also.” Zhu will now have to pay court fees of more than US$5,000 to Nike.

Nike's world headquarters are surrounded by the city of Beaverton, Oregon but are technically within unincorporated Washington County. This technicality reflects a dispute that The Oregonian characterized as an increasingly personal disagreement between Phil Knight and Beaverton mayor Rob Drake.

From Nike's perspective, the company, the only Fortune 500 employer still headquartered in the state of Oregon, has such a large payroll in the area that it shouldn't be forced to be annexed into Beaverton without its consent. Nike prefers to work with county government as it develops and expands its headquarters. Annexation would cost the company $700,000 per year in increased taxes for services it already receives from the county and various special-purpose districts. Intel, another large employer in the state, routinely receives special tax breaks on various capital investments it makes in the county.

From Beaverton's perspective, the company's expectation for special treatment is counter to the city's desire to have zoning and other laws apply equally to all businesses, big and small. A nearby Costco store, one of that company's earliest, was annexed into Beaverton years ago without incident, and Beaverton's focus on additional annexation during the 21st century reflects a desire to streamline both city and county government by having metropolitan-area services handled by cities instead of counties.

The Oregonian dates the bad blood between the two back to the Nike purchase of 74 acres (0.3 km²) of nearby Beaverton land which soon fronted the MAX Blue Line. When Nike proposed expanding their headquarters in that direction, Beaverton at first wanted them to build housing near the MAX station and criss-cross the property with two public roads, expectations defined by the zoning already in place when Nike bought the land. Beaverton's request was mostly consistent with Metro's transit-oriented development plans for the region. After a year, which included a threat by Nike to move 5,000 jobs out of the state, Beaverton backed down from the requirement for housing, but the lack of accommodation was something that Nike did not forget.

The annexation standoff soon led Beaverton to attempt a forcible annexation. That led to a lawsuit by Nike, and lobbying by the company that ultimately ended in Oregon Senate Bill 887. Under that bill's terms, Beaverton is specifically barred from forcibly annexing the land that Nike and Columbia Sportswear occupy in unincorporated Washington County for 35 years, while Electro Scientific Industries and Tektronix get that same protection for 30 years.

Current members of the board of directors of Nike are: John G. Connors, Jill Conway, Alan Graf, Douglas Houser, Jeanne Jackson, Phil Knight, Orin Smith, and John Thompson.

Because Nike creates goods for a wide range of sports, they have competition from every sports and sports fashion brand there is. Nike has no direct competitors because there is no single brand which can compete directly with Nike's range of sports and non-sports oriented gear, except for Reebok. This has helped make the brand popular in all areas of sport and sports fashion around the world.

One of Nike's designers, Donwan Harrell, has left Nike to form the urban clothing company (in partnership) Akademiks.

The legendary 'swoosh' symbol, a Nike trademark, was designed by a graphic artist student at Portland State University named Carolyn Davidson for $35. She did, however, later receive Nike stock and a golden 'swoosh' ring.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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