Nike Forced to Change Ad Campaign After Social Media Backlash on Australian Bushfire

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Nike Forced to Change Ad Campaign After Social Media Backlash on Australian Bushfire

Tennis - The American sportswear company Nike has been forced to change its new advertisement campaign for the outfits that its women tennis players will wear at the upcoming Australian Open in Melbourne after receiving widespread backlash over the campaign in relation to the current bushfire crisis in Australia.

The ads featured the images of US Open champion Bianca Andreescu, from Canada, in a new knee-length bodysuit, with the caption - “Melbourne also tracks the hottest temperatures of any of tennis’ four majors. Averaging more than 100 degrees (37 degrees Celsius), the heat challenges players and, in turn, NikeCourt’s apparel designers to outduel the fiery conditions”.

While Melbourne has been known to have the hottest conditions among the four Grand Slams and organizers also have a heat policy in place for several years, the ad sparked several responses on social media and was deemed highly inappropriate due to the bushfire crisis that has currently hit the country in which 24 people and more than 500 million animals have died, while several thousands of people have been forced to evacuate their homes.

The campaign has now been changed to replace “fiery conditions” with the neutral phrase “keep players cool”. The Melbourne collection for Nike is expected to come out on January 13th, one week prior to the start of the Australian Open.

World No. 2 Novak Djokovic has suggested that organizers may need to consider delaying the start of the tournament in case the crisis continues and smoke levels become very harmful for the players. For now, Tennis Australia has said that they would be monitoring the crisis and smoke levels but do not anticipate a delayed start as they have three courts with retractable roofs.