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Critics of Nike move into selling shoes

Date: 15 Dec 2003

Anti-Nike activists are to take their protests about the company to the next level - by producing their own 'black spot' shoes to sell in competition with the famous global brand.

The journal Adbusters - which has for years criticised the corporate world and promoted the defacing of big corporation ads on billboards - is to produce shoes marketing as "being designed for one thing - to kick Phil Knight's [CEO of Nike] ass".

The activists' stated aim is to produce a 'black spot' brand that will be viewed as cooler than Nike. In contrast to ethical companies such as the Body Shop that aimed to create an ethical business model around a specific product sector, the aim and intent seems to be purely an anti-Nike one. The shoe is to be known as "the unswoosher".

The 'black spot' brand relates to the Robert Louis Stevenson invention for his book 'Treasure Island', where the black spot was given to someone that was destined to die.

The move has proven controversial with some of Adbusters' natural allies, who accuse the organisation of 'selling out' and are outraged at the fact that the shoes will be launched with a $250m advertising campaign - to be paid to the advertisers that have so often been the subject of attack.

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