Linked: Welcome Baseball Crank readers. Thanks for taking a look; if you've seen the ad, you know what I'm talking about.
I've been seeing it a lot lately, during both pro and college basketball games, and it gives me the willies every time I do.
The ad stars Vince Carter of the New Jersey Nets, a Nike client, and is essentially a celebration of the dunk. Carter is shown in multiple clips dunking; some young adults playing pickup in a gym do the same. But there are three or four scenes spliced in where a young boy - five, six, maybe seven - is placing and climbing a 10 foot ladder. He sits on top of the ladder in one clip, basketball in hand, and stares at the rim at eye level. Then, following a couple more spectacular Carter dunks, the lad is shown leaping from the ladder 3-4 feet to the rim, dunking the ball and hanging from the rim. Every time he does so I shudder.
I just know, and it'll happen soon, that I'll be on call and the beeper will go off with a call from the ER. Some youngster will have tried to duplicate that move, and missed the rim, or pushed the ladder and come up short. His landing will have been awkward and uncontrolled, and his arm, or his leg, or both will have been shattered. Or worse.
I'll go to the hospital to visit with the badly injured child and the shocked parents. I'll have to explain to them the terrible injuries that have happened to their child. I'll have to calm the child and explain that we'll need to operate to make things right. I'll call on all my skills and training to provide treatment. And I'll also pray that God guides me in providing treatment so that this momentary poor choice doesn't provide a lifetime of difficulty for one so young.
Nike, if you're reading, pull those scenes out of this ad. This one is tailor-made for copycat attempts, and a recipe for disaster. I've been to the Nike Basketball website looking for a way to contact them, but I can't find one.
1/28/06 2245: Here's the address for Nike Headquarters in Beaverton, Oregon:
Nike World Headquarters
One Bowerman Drive
Beaverton, Oregon, 97005-6453
The CEO is Phil Knight. The VP of USA Marketing and Brand Management is Joaqin Hidalgo. The VP for Corporate Responsibility is Hannah Jones. I'm looking for email addresses for the latter two - this should be their bag.
Do you have any idea how wrong, and how dangerous, your current ad is? The one that shows the young child climbing a ladder to rim height, jumping off to dunk, then hanging on the rim? I know dunking is sexy, but this is just wrong.
I'm an orthopaedic surgeon, and I just know I'll be getting calls fromt the ER about kids injured pulling this stunt. It's extremely dangerous, and especially so for boys and girls of the age you show in the ad, about six or seven by my estimate.
Please do the nation's/world's kids a favor and clip those scenes out. Believe me, nobody will miss them, and you may prevent some kids from devastating injuries. You may have a disclaimer in the commercial, but kids don't read disclaimers.
Thanks for your attention to this. I hope you heed this advice and do the right thing.
I'll be calling the Corporate Responsibility VP, Hannah Jones, on Monday.
1/31/06 1300: No luck so far reaching Ms. Jones, though I've left a message. In addition, I haven't received a reply to my email contact from Sunday night. We'll see how responsible Corporate Responsibility is.
2/1/06 1830: A response from Nike, and my reply to them.
2/7/06 0745: Update here. Successful? Maybe.