*A video ad from Nike Japan against bullying and racism has sparked calls to boycott the company.
The ad, “Keep Moving: Yourself, the Future,” released on Nov 30, features biracial athletes and minorities of Korean descent. The commercial shows several teen girls bullied in school over their differences, but they ultimately find confidence through their athletics, namely soccer.
The video has been viewed 14.1 million times on Nike Japan’s Twitter feed and has garnered plenty of critical comments.
Check out the ad below.
— Nike Japan (@nikejapan) November 28, 2020
As noted by Reuters, Nike Japan noted on its website: “We have long listened to minority voices, supported and spoken for causes that fit our values. We believe sports have the power to show what a better world looks like, to bring people together and encourage action in their respective communities.”
Meanwhile, successfu mixed-race athletes such as tennis star Naomi Osaka are challenging the country’s racially homogeneous imgae.
Osaka, who was born in Japan, rose to fame after beating Serena Williams in the 2018 U.S. Open.
Earlier this year, she surpassed Williams as the highest paid female athlete, earning $37.4 million in the past 12 months via tournament payouts and endorsement deals.
“To those outside the tennis world, Osaka is a relatively fresh face with a great backstory,” David Carter, a sports business professor at USC’s Marshall School of Business, told Forbes. “Combine that with being youthful and bicultural, two attributes that help her resonate with younger, global audiences, and the result is the emergence of a global sports marketing icon.”
As noted by Yahoo, “Osaka’s $37.4 million in prize money and endorsements is also the highest ever for a female athlete, passing the $29.7 million payday Maria Sharapova earned in 2015,” according to the report.
“I’m really interested in seeing a young business grow and adding value to that process,” Osaka told Forbes last year. “I tasked my team with finding brands that align with my personality and my interests.”