Readers outside of London should feel privileged that they have been spared Nike’s latest marketing/CSR initiative: Run London. They’re adverts are everywhere and they have been driving me nuts.
Irritation the First: this cheery repackaging of North versus South London rivalry. In truth, there is no such rivalry, just a simple tribalistic identity rooted in a desire to smash The Other’s face in. Time Out magazine occasionally produce “north” and “south” special editions and this probably where the marketing whizzes got the idea from. But it isn’t as if the people of Dagenham feel any great sense of commonality with Islington. You might just as well talk about east vs west, outer versus inner or – with rather more justification – ye olde versus nouveau. The tone of this whole advertising campaign – “north vs south rivalry – bonkers, eh?” – is completely misplaced because it is making light out of something that any real Londoner knows doesn’t actually exist. But if it did, it would be highly inappropriate, a bit like trying to suggest that football hooliganism or sectarianism could somehow be repackaged as something fun and silly.
Irritation the second: this endless abuse of language. We stretchy, we bendy. We banana powered, we water-cooled. We D-I-S-C-O, we techno techno techno. Argh!!! I’ve remembered them all! Whatever happened to fucking verbs, eh?
Irritation the third: the fact that this is a transnational corporation chewing up London culture and spitting it back at us and expecting us to be grateful. You’re called Nike. You expect us to pronounce your name nyk-eee, yet won’t even do us the courtesy of providing us with an acute accent above your last letter: isn’t that enough? What makes you think you have the right to come here and tell me what to think about my own city?
Irritation the fourth: the fact that just by blogging about this I’m helping to promote the bastards. I can’t even complain without helping them. Their website is possibly even more annoying than their tube adverts, and yet by linking to it I’m somehow helping to connect them with their target audience. I hate you all.