Nike Gold Digging Shirt: Olympics Design Marks Rare Marketing Flub by Company

Ryan RudnanskySenior Writer IAugust 15, 2012

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Whether you are offended by Nike's Olympics-themed "Gold Digging" T-shirt or not, you can't deny the company opened itself up to backlash this summer.

Yahoo! reports that Nike has seen its fair share of criticism after releasing the women's shirt this summer, some believing it puts women in a negative light.

Sure, it's primarily talking about winning gold medals in the 2012 London Olympics, but it also has a less appealing cultural connotation: a woman going after a man's money.

Nike released a statement to Yahoo! on Wednesday, reading:

Nike has consistently supported female athletes and the position they enjoy as positive role models. The t-shirt uses a phrase in an ironic way that is relevant given it was released just as the world focused on the success of female athletes.

Whatever that means.

C'mon, Nike knew what it was doing. It was trying to be cute, merging sports and culture, and instead came off as sexist. And, judging by the fact that the shirts have brought in "gold" for many major retailers, Nike has to be cheering behind closed doors.

Nonetheless, it unnecessarily attracts bad publicity and you can't tell me Nike had to come out with these shirts. The company was doing just fine without them before the Olympics.

It marks a rare occurrence for the popular supplier and it's honestly hard to believe Nike would be so short-sighted as to not realize the dangers that would follow the product.

This came after the United States women's soccer team wore Nike shirts titled "Greatness Has Been Found" after its victory over Japan in the gold medal game this summer. Many found the statement to be disrespectful and lacking in humility.

This is not what you would expect from a company that reported revenues of over $24 billion for fiscal 2012.


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