Masculinity, Homophobia, and Racism in Advertising

Nike's 2008 Hyperdunk
Historical Context
"That Ain't Right"
"Say Hello"
"Punks Jump Up"
Further Information
Sexism and Racism in Advertising Homepage
In March 2008, Nike introduced an ad campaign for their new Hyperdunk shoe line, which was met with much criticism for its purportedly homophobic and racist connotations and implications. Nike pulled the ads on July 25 after posting them around New York City, mainly in subway stations.

The cultural logic and expressions of Nike’s ads call to mind questions of normativity, race, sexuality, and the undertones therein that are communicated to the individuals passing by each advertisement. As Sut Jhally (1955 -     ) writes,

“Advertising thus does not work by creating values and attitudes out of nothing but by drawing upon and rechanneling concerns that the target audience (and the culture) already shares” (1995:79).

In trying to decipher the mechanistic qualities of Nike’s ads, we employ Jhally’s theories about how ads as cultural icons evoke modalities of discourse and the possible implications, potentially violent, subversive, or injurious, of the subject matter. The semiotics of advertising is imperative in understanding and analyzing ads for consumers cannot, whether consciously or subconsciously, look past intersecting intentionalities, embodiments, and consequent repercussions when judging the text, pictures, and embodied persons within advertisements.

The goal of our analysis is to elucidate the significance of iconicity and indexicality within the composition of these advertisements to unearth the intersection of sexuality, race, and related cultural inclinations.

Nike's 2008 Hyperdunk // Historical Context // "That Ain't Right" // "Say Hello"
"Punks Jump Up" // Further Information // Sexism and Racism in Advertising Homepage