Nike is known throughout the world as the behemoth in the sports apparel space, especially with regards to their shoes. Professional athletes at the top of every sport are signed with Nike with monster sponsorship contracts yet this does not mean the mega company that is Nike is unable to make mistakes, as they did with an upcoming shoe release.
Before you go on, what is wrong with the featured image? 🙂
Nike Botches Their Name in Greek
Nike was originally founded in 1964 with the name Blue Ribbon Sports. In 1971, the company changed their name to Nike after the Greek goddess of victory. Greece itself has a rich history in sport and endurance so just one more reason for a company on an upward streak as an athletic company should embrace Greece.
However, Nike is not without controversy. A recent controversy was just 2 years ago when they were releasing their Betsy Ross Flag shoe. They ended up spiking its release when their sponsored activist, Colin Kaepernick, told them that the flag glorified slavery.
ΠΙΚΣ Does Not Equal ΝΙΚΗ!
Now, here they are again with another controversy in relation to an upcoming shoe release. This time, it is due to their misuse of the Greek alphabet in their new Nike Air Force 1 Greek Goddess of Victory shoe (which is estimated to be released shortly and cost around $130). It isn’t the name that people have a problem with but how Nike spelled their name on the back of the shoe.
They spelled it ΠΙΚΣ – I guess because someone in the design department thought that they should just open Microsoft Word and use the Greek styled font to spell out Nike? Well, the problem is that this actually spells “PIKS” and not NIKE. They used the Greek letters for “P” and the last one is “S” not N and E.
Many Greeks are upset about this and have started a petition to have the shoe not released without changing it to the correct spelling, should they still try to go ahead with Greek letters. The correct spelling would be ΝΙΚΗ but I don’t think Nike would want to go that way since most people would not know what that says. However, Greek people are upset that Nike is using cultural appropriation to market a shoe that is designed for the sole purpose of honoring a Greek goddess (and to make money, of course).
Nike Already Leaving Greece
This comes just months after Nike announced that they are shuttering all their stores in Greece. This is in spite of it being a company that has deep Greek roots in their name and even in their multi-million dollar sponsorship of Giannis Antetokounmpo, the Greek basketball player who won back to back MVP awards while playing for the Milwaukee Bucks.
Honestly, you would think that a company like this would have a Greek speaker someplace in the corporate ladder that would have said, “hey, this isn’t how you spell Nike!” before they started running with it. So, will Nike scuttle their failed Greek attempt or roll it out anyway, knowing that most of the people that buy it won’t know or care that it doesn’t spell Nike. I do think you won’t find a Greek speaker buying one if that is the case!
Actually, if Nike could lose Stephen Curry to Under Armour because their official mispronounced his name (and analysts estimate that he is now worth over $14 billion for Under Armour), then a mistake like this becomes a little easier to understand! 🙂
Featured image courtesy of Nike