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  Nike Pulls Ad and Apologizes

By William McCall
AP Business Writer
Wednesday, Oct. 25, 2000; 9:34 p.m. EDT

BEAVERTON, Ore. –– For the second time in a month, Nike has withdrawn an advertisement and apologized to those who found the material offensive.

The magazine advertisement spoofing the dangers of trail running was withdrawn after complaints it insulted the disabled.

The ad promoted Air Dri-Goat trail running shoes and claimed they would prevent the pictured runner from slamming into a tree, "rendering me 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."

Nike spokesman Lee Weinstein said the ad appeared in several national and regional outdoor and backpacking magazines this month. The Beaverton-based company ordered it removed from future publications.

"We have a long and diverse record of supporting disabled athletes, and we're extremely and sincerely apologetic," Weinstein said.

A corporate apology also was posted on the Nike Web site, noting that "disabilities of any form are no laughing matter."

Wieden & Kennedy, the Portland advertising agency that prepared the magazine ad, produced the television commercial which was withdrawn last month from Nike's Olympic sponsorship.

That commercial showed middle-distance runner Suzy Favor Hamilton fleeing a chainsaw-wielding maniac in a parody of horror films. The commercial was quickly yanked after complaints flooded television stations, Weinstein said.

He said he talked with Wieden & Kennedy officials and "they unequivocally said this was just plain stupid."

Dan Wieden, co-founder of the firm, said "We have stepped over the line with his advertisement and there is no excuse for it," he said.

© Copyright 2000 The Associated Press

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