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Nike's Duke campaign less than subtle

4/13/2010

If you spent any time on an airport this weekend (I promise to stop bringing up my just-expired vacation in the next, like, two months) it's likely you spent some time flipping through a magazine. If you're like me and my friends, one of those magazines was Sports Illustrated, where you saw a full-page Nike ad that read: "Order has been restored."

There's also this logo, which features a little devil-esque trident with the same "order has been restored" tag line. It's slightly more visually appealing, though the stark ad in SI certainly caught my friend's eye. White page, blue lettering, basketball fandom: bam. Eye-catching advertising.

Two things, though. The first: The copy editor in me has to scold the ad writers here for the "Order has been restored" phrasing. By whom has the order been restored? Duke has restored the order. Be specific! Use active voice! (Note: I'm kidding. I am the last person to scold anyone about using passive, indirect sentences in their writing. No sweat, ad copy writers. We're cool.)

The second thing: I'm not exactly sure who, other than Duke fans, is going to enjoy this ad. It's no secret Duke is one of the least popular teams in the country. They're famous, sure, but popular? Not exactly. And with the (sort of unfair) way Duke sort occupied the Big Bad Money Program role in last week's Final Four David vs. Goliath drama, Duke popularity might be at an all-time low. Is Nike just advertising to Duke fans? Is celebrating a Duke title intelligent wide-scale advertising? Does it matter? Does doing so in a somewhat conceited way -- "order has been restored, the best are back on top, mua ha" -- really the best way to do it?

And another question: Am I smart enough about marketing to be writing about this with anything resembling definition? No. Nike is. So I'll be quiet now.

(Update: Thanks to a good tip on Twitter, it turns out Duke is pretty popular. Well look at that.)