When an homage isn’t

My contribution to advertising homages.By now the flap over Nike’s ill-advised use of album art from Dischord Records and Minor Threat has died down a bit. Nike has offered an explaination and an appology.
Some have (mis)characterized this illegal use of artwork as an homage. Nike’s statement that the poster was made, not by Nike employees or creative advertising types but of actual skateboarders lends some credence to this notion. However, this is trickier than that. Regardless of who created Nike’s promotional material, the facts of the matter remain unchanged – had this been Dischord Records using the Nike swoosh in homage to classic tennis shoes there would have been a team of Nike lawyers dispatched to Dischord’s offices within minutes. Nike (rightly) must protect the investment it has made in building one of the most recognized marks in the world – and, although smaller and less recognizable (especially to those of us who aren’t cool enough to be in the know) Minor Threat’s album art represents their investment in branding themselves. To have that brand co-opted by a skatepunk on his website, for example, would be one thing, but to have a huge multinational corporation do it, brings about an entirely new set of issues.
Recognizing the absurdity of the homage spin some folks have created a little “contest” where you can submit other corporate messages that “pay homage” to famous album covers. My contribution is shown above.

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3 responses to this post.

  1. If skateboarders were the ones to do it, they must know nothing about Minor Threat. These were the same dudes that wouldn’t even have their own band t-shirts printed because they hated advertising so much.

  2. Not to mention that they refused to charge more than five bucks for a show.

  3. And their label still sells records at a low margin. They’ve got low overheads, and sales are enough to keep things rolling, so why cheat the audience?
    Also, before anyone brings this up, I believe Moby or someone like him wore a Minor Threat t-shirt to some awards ceremon a few years ago, but that t-shirt wasn’t produced by the band.

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