Saturday, March 01, 2008
NIKE LAUNCHES "I AM TAO LIN" AD CAMPAIGN.
3 March 2008, Brooklyn, NY
The Nike Corporation, a cutthroat Equal Opportunity Employer, announced that it will soon launch a "vast and overwhelming" advertising campaign featuring the enigmatic New York author Tao Lin. Nike spokesperson, Bopha Deasnutts, said that the effort reflects Nike's longstanding desire to colonize various untapped demographics.
"For instance," said Mr. Deasnutts, "lots of Asians don't wear Nike products. They make them, but they don't wear the products they stitch together. Even Asians in the United States and places like Britain don't wear Nikes that much. They don't have Nike 'Swoosh' tattoos on their faces. Tao Lin is Asian, we don't know what kind, but it doesn't matter."
Through Tao Lin, Nike hopes to appeal to the growing vegan population as well. "Lots of vegans don't wear Nike products," Deasnutts said in a statement. "In fact, after extensive research conducted by the Nike Corporation, in conjunction with Omnibus, we found that roughly zero percent of vegans wear Nike products" despite past efforts to appeal to this demographic. "Tao Lin doesn't eat meat or anything that has animal products in it like milk, which is comprised largely of animal products, nor does he use products that killed animals. We've found that these are the kinds of things that the vegan population connects to, and that is precisely why tattooing Tao Lin's face with a Nike 'Swoosh' will help to put a pair of Nike shoes on the feet of vegan people everywhere, including India, where there are like a billion people, some of them vegan and all of them Asian, who don't wear Nike anything, let alone Swoosh face tatts."
Actually, Tao Lin recently ate some shrimp because someone was going to throw it away. When asked how this might affect Tao Lin's standing in the vegan community, Mr. Deasnutts said that Nike does not acknowledge the shrimp as an animal. "Even if it were [an animal], Mr. Lin's actions would only make Nike products attractive to another group of people that don't use enough Nike products: freegans."
When asked whether Nike might seek to use other writers in future ad campaigns, Mr. Deasnutts responded that he did not realize Mr. Lin was a writer, but that if this resulted in other aspiring writers wearing Nike shoes and writing about Nike products, that would be a welcomed side-effect of the campaign.
One person who did realize Tao Lin was a writer was Nike CEO Phil Knight (seen below overlooking something with Tao Lin) elaborated on the reason why Nike chose Tao Lin for the campaign: "I was surfing the web and noticed that there are a lot of these blog-type things out there, and thought that this was uncharted territory. I hired someone to find out what they were. It was a real epiphany. I felt like Al Gore or something. Then I had someone comprise a list of blogs that have a lot of visitors, and then, from amongst those, I told someone to look for marketing niches that Nike had not previously exploited. Tao Lin simultaneously appeals to many of those niches: young vegans, hamsters, depressive people, people who read 'literary fiction', dumpster divers, et cetera."
To appeal to literary writers, Nike will purchase Melville House, Tao Lin's primary publisher, and turn the building where their storefront is into a ten story Niketown with one shelf devoted to books. When Tao Lin volunteers there he will wear a Nike 'Swoosh' on his face and genitalia.
Before Nike discovered Tao Lin, however, they happened across one of his e-publishers, Bear Parade and approached one of its publishers, Gene Morgan, with an offer. According to a now deleted and very "rare" Tao Lin blogpost, Morgan was entertaining sponsorship from both Nike and their #1 competitor, Reebok. Morgan said he would choose "whoever sends me the most free shoes" and "whoever sends bear parade authors free shoes, but that is less important."
When the person that Phil Knight hired to look at blogs for a living noticed that Tao Lin's blog was more "linked to" and had "more hits" than Bear Parade itself, they withdrew their offer in order to pursue Tao Lin himself. It has been suggested, however, that the real reason negotiations broke down between Nike and Bear Parade was Morgan's unwillingness to either get a 'Swoosh' face tatt or to bend over a toilet.
"We're happy with the decision," Mr. Deasnutts said. "Tao Lin appeals to a lot of people. Billions. In that way he's sort of an Everyman, or at least an Everyasianvegan/freeganwriter. I mean the whole idea behind the campaign is that anyone of us could be Tao Lin, we're just not, for whatever reason -- not as talented, fewer blog visitors, taller, we like a big fat Burger King value meal and animal-tested make-up or leather underwear, whatever. But we could be."
Mr. Knight elaborated further: "Everyone already tries to copy the way Tao Lin writes, talks, eats, sleeps, and poops. Some people probably try to be Asian because of him. Now people will wear Nike condoms because of him."
When asked what he would do with the money and shoes that Nike give him, Tao Lin said, "I don't know."