“Nike’s ‘Bullet in the Chamber’ Ad Yanked From Pistorius’s Website” writes Michael McCarthy on Advertising Age. The article discusses the reactions of Nike and Oakley to the arrest of their athlete and spokes-model Oscar Pistorius on charges of murdering his girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp, a famous South African model.
McCarthy, along with the subjects interviewed for his article, raises questions about the use of violent images and terms in advertising. The US is experiencing a swing of the pendulum during which Americans are once again locked in a debate over gun control which would potentially make the “Bullet in the Chamber” ad polarizing even without the tragic shooting of Ms. Steenkamp. Perhaps it’s time to take a look at the pervasive use of violent language in business. Corporate America commonly talks about business strategy in the context of fighting a war. We “target” our customers, conduct guerilla marketing campaigns and engage in price wars. We talk about negotiation in terms of “having a gun to our head.”
I, for one, am going to make a conscious effort to take the military language out of my marketing-speak. Maybe something in the world can be achieved through diplomacy.