Fact Check

Nike Goat Ad

Was a 2000 Nike ad pulled because readers found it offensive to the disabled?

Published Oct 29, 2000


Claim:   Nike pulled a print ad for their Air Dri-Goat shoes because readers found it offensive to the disabled.

Status:   True.

Origins:   Unfortunately,

Nike Dri-Goat

this one is true. In October 2000, less than a month after NBC pulled a clever commercial spoof showing U.S. Olympic runner Suzy Favor Hamilton outrunning a chainsaw-wielding attacker while wearing a Nike sports bra when viewers reacted badly to it, Nike withdrew and apologized for an egregious, intended-to-be-humorous advertisement for their ACG Air Dri-Goat trail running shoes which ran in several in national and regional outdoor and backpacking magazines. The ad copy ran as follows:

Fortunately, the Air Dri-Goat features a patented, goat-like out sole for increased traction, so you can taunt mortal injury without actually experiencing it. Right about now you're probably asking yourself, "How can a trail running shoe with an outer sole designed like a goat's hoof help me avoid compressing my spinal cord into a Slinky on the side of some unsuspecting conifer, thereby rendering me a a drooling, misshapen, non-extreme-trail-running husk of my former self, forced to roam the Earth in a motorized wheelchair with my name, embossed on one of those cute little license plates you get at carnivals or state fairs, fastened to the back?"

To that we answer, hey, have you ever seen a mountain goat (even an extreme mountain goat) careen out of control into the side of a tree?

Didn't think so.

Even many of those who thought the condemnatory reaction to Nike's Olympic commercial was overblown were still mystified about why anybody at Nike or their advertising agency thought this ad was funny. Nike ordered the ad removed from any future editions of the magazines in which it was scheduled to appear after they were deluged with complaints that the ad was insulting to the disabled, and they posted a public apology on their web site which read, in part:

Clearly, disabilities of any form are no laughing matter and that paragraph should not have been included in the ad. We are immediately pulling this offensive ad from future publication.

The intent of the print ad for the Air Dri-Goat trail running shoe was to communicate the benefits of using the right equipment to prevent injuries. We certainly did not mean to offend, or make light of any form of disability.

Additional information:

    Nike ad   Controversial Nike Dri-Goat ad

Last updated:   29 August 2007

  Sources Sources:

    Heinzl, John.   "Nike Ad: Good Taste Gone in a Swoosh."

    The [Toronto] Globe and Mail.   27 October 2000   (p. M1).

    Herzog, Boaz.   "Nike Puts Shoe in Mouth Again."

    Portland Oregonian.   26 October 2000   (p. B2).

    Associated Press.   "Nike Forced to Pull Another Offensive Ad."

    The [Cleveland] Plain Dealer.   26 October 2000   (p. D2).

David Mikkelson founded the site now known as snopes.com back in 1994.

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