Can you say, "Pull that ad from prime time?"
If you're Nike Inc., you can. Reaction to a Nike commercial featuring NBA rookie of the year David Robinson doing a parody of "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" was so negative it now will be shown only after 11 p.m., Nike officials said.The Beaverton, Ore.-based sneaker company said the decision was made after two days of complaints about the ad, which was broadcast on ABC's Monday Night Football this week.
The commercial, promoting Nike's $135 Force basketball shoes, shows Robinson, the San Antonio Spurs center, tying his shoes.
Robinson looks into the camera and says: "Can you say, `Kick some butt?' "
The children's TV star Fred Rogers, known for his soothing manner and cardigan sweaters, often asks his young viewers if they can say a word.
A Nike employee, who asked not to be identified, said the ad generated several negative telephone calls.
"They were not happy with it," the employee said. "Being associated with Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood, a lot of people thought it was targeted to 3-year-olds."
Of the three major networks, only NBC refused to run the spot, created by the Portland, Ore., agency Wieden & Kennedy.