Adidas a Shoe-In for Most Insensitive


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Adidas recently pulled the marketing and manufacturing of shoes called the JS Roundhouse Mid’s. Sounds like no big deal…nor did the marketing at first, with the very edgy and attractive tagline of “got a sneaker game so hot you lock your kicks to your ankles?” Again, sounds fine….interesting…the marketing did the right thing to prey on athletes looking to rise to the next level. Obviously, as we all know, shoe marketing is one of the most aggressive in the game.

Then people saw them….o-ADIDAS-SHACKLE-SNEAKERS-570-160x120

I’m sorry here…but what they hell is Adidas thinking? We can all appreciate seeking the competitive edge. Finding that product that becomes a cultured trend…just the same as Air Jordan’s has done for generations. I support creativity in its finest…but really? I can’t even believe, a.) The person that designed this and b.) it ever got off the table in R&D. Wow….

Adidas launched the product on its Facebook page to receive thousands of complaints and concerns of racism. Jesse Jackson called the shoes “offensive, appalling and insensitive.” You think! I also understand that Adidas is a German based company and possibility that their cultural semblances are different than ours…but wow. All I can say is wow. How could anyone not see a racist implication in these shoes?

Obviously, Adidas has pulled these from everywhere, as the shoes were set to debut in August of this year, with a simple statement of “we apologize if people are offended by the design.” Adidas is just one of many major apparel and shoe manufacturers to pull product designs prior to hitting shelves.

Just this spring, Nike shelved a shoe concept called “Black & Tan,” which were set to debut around St. Patrick’s Day. Nike received criticism that the name wasn’t just a reference to a drink, as it also evoked memories of a English-related paramilitary force noted for its harsh attacks on Irish during the 1920’s.

About a decade ago, Umbro launched a shoe call Zyklon, after the German word for Cyclone. Someone should have done more homework. Zyklon was also the name for a gas that Nazi’s used to kill Jews in concentration camps.

All this to be said, creativity leads the charge. Being the best, being the first….but is it that Adidas simply got too far in the box, and didn’t take the time to think about consumer emotions a product like this would evoke? Or really, did the big executives at Adidas really think this one a good idea…a great show…the next big thing? Who knows what they thought…but without enough research and development, they found out the hard way.