Nike has a new shoe on the market that it referred to as “Black and Tan,” in a St. Patrick’s Day promotion. The reference was to an Irish beverage. Sounds festive, right?
It turns out that “Black and Tan” has another meaning. In Ireland, it refers to the the Royal Irish Constabulary Reserve Force, which during the 1920s was known for its attacks on Irish civilians during the War of Independence. The group’s motives have been described as making sure life “would be hell for the rebels to live in.” Basically they were paid thugs.
It’s not a smart move to use a country’s dark history for marketing inspiration. Had Nike digged a little, the inappropriateness of the term would have been apparent.
The company might have also discovered that a similar mistake was made in the past. In 2006, Ben and Jerry’s introduced and later apologized for an ice cream flavor called, “Black and Tan.”
These mistakes could be easily prevented. Nike has had to spend hours of time apologizing for a problem that could have been prevented by a quick online search.
Sometimes, taking an extra step, saves you time and embarrassment.