I now have two specific products which will never, ever appear on neither my or my wife’s shopping lists again.
Any product branded with the Gillette logo and anything made by Nike.
Not because of their pricing and not necessarily because of their quality—although there are plenty of competitive products—but because both of these companies hired marketing clowns who want to lecture me while they want me to give them money in exchange for their products.
If I decide to use a Gillette Fusion Five razor to trim around the beard I have worn since I was a Junior in college, I don’t need some dumb ass millennial telling me about toxic masculinity. I just threw out a bunch of their crap and found a much cheaper alternative—so at the very least I’m not funding their fantasy that they can scold the very people they’re trying to sell their product to.
And, by the way, when I was about 13 my father—observing I was starting to have an interest in the opposite sex—sat me down and told me that I had a Mother and two sisters and I had better treat women and girls the same way I expected others to treat my Mother and sisters. Or else. (And “or else” meant whatever he wanted it to mean.) That was in 1965! I had that conversation with my own step-son at about that same age.
It’s not the job of Gillette to do what parents should do every day. It’s also not the job of Gillette to define what is toxic and what is not. They are a division of Procter and Gamble whose job it is to sell shavers and shaving products and I refuse to be lectured by some 30-something advertising manager who thinks that he (or she) is smarter than people who have been using their products for years. And P&G better start paying attention to what their children are doing or maybe I’ll add some of their other divisions to my no shop list. WalMart has lots of competitive products.
Now, let’s talk about Nike.
It’s pretty cheeky of Phil Knight to run a silly commercial extolling the actions of a washed up NFL quarterback who decided—as his career was headed to the toilet, to aim an upraised middle index finger to every patriotic American NFL fan. That his career is in the toilet is not because of that lunacy. It’s because NFL defenses had learned how to read him.
The reason it was cheeky is that he was extolling his version of Americanism and Nike makes all of its shoes overseas. In Bangladesh, as an example, where it has 4 contract factories employing 14,120 workers according to the Portland Business Journal, the average wage is $36 A MONTH!
Vietnam is a little more expensive. Nike has 12 contract factories employing 43,414 workers who make $73.94 a month.
A web site which specializes in shoes using publicly available numbers estimates that in round numbers, materials, labor, shipping and packaging cost Nike $25 for a pair of Air Jordans which can sell at retail for upwards of $150.
That’s American Exceptionalism, right?
I could live with that despite the fact that their contract sweat shops pay almost nothing to thousand of employees and they refuse to do anything in the United States accept sell, and they make a lot of money.
But extolling an alleged athlete who crapped all over the flag and the national anthem for whatever his warped reasoning was?
Not with my money. I can buy my shoes which were also made in Viet Nam somewhere else from someone else. When you get right down to it, shoes are 10% shoes and 90% branding. At least as Nike plays the game.
Both Gillette and Nike have the absolute right to do what they have done. But they have severely limited their ability to sell to about half of the people who they have sold to in the past. Just ask the Dixie Chicks.