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China bans Lebron/Nike commercial

Discussion in 'NBA Dish' started by Faos, Dec 7, 2004.

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  1. Faos

    Faos Contributing Member

    May 31, 2003
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    I wonder if Yao had his Reebok people put the pressure on. :)


    China bans Nike commercial as insult to national dignity

    By Audra Ang, The Associated Press

    BEIJING — China has banned a Nike television commercial showing Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James in a battle with an animated cartoon kung fu master, saying the ad insults Chinese national dignity.

    The commercial, titled "Chamber of Fear," was broadcast on local Chinese stations and on state television's national sports channel before being pulled last month. It shows James, the Cleveland Cavaliers' reigning NBA rookie of the year, in a video game-style setting defeating the kung fu master, two women in traditional Chinese attire and a pair of dragons, considered a sacred symbol in traditional Chinese culture.

    The advertisement "violates regulations that mandate that all advertisements in China should uphold national dignity and interest and respect the motherland's culture," the State Administration for Radio, Film and Television said on a statement posted Monday on its Web site.

    "It also goes against rules that require ads not to contain content that blasphemes national practices and cultures."

    The statement added: "The ad has received an indignant response from Chinese viewers."

    It did not say why the advertisement was considered offensive. But communist officials are sensitive about the use of Chinese cultural symbols by Westerners, and might have been especially angered that the Nike advertisement showed the foreigner winning the fight.

    James and Nike based the ads for the 19-year-old's Air Zoom LeBron II sneakers on films featuring martial arts icon Bruce Lee. James, who is a fan of Lee's work, said he was sorry that some found the ads offensive.

    "It was never intended to hurt anybody or any culture or anything like that" James said following practice in Cleveland on Monday. "We put the ads together basically for kids."

    James said Asian reporters told him they liked the commercials. He was disappointed they were pulled and will prevent some of his fans from seeing him.

    "That's big. I need as much fans as I can get," he said.

    James, who signed a seven-year, $90 million endorsement deal with Nike shortly before turning pro, hopes to have things patched up with his Chinese fans in time for the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

    "I'll be there in 2008, so maybe they'll love me a little more when I get there," said James, who played for the U.S. Olympic team this summer in Athens.

    On Monday, James filmed a commercial for Bubblicious gum. His signature brand of the gum will be on the market next month.

    Maurice Zhou, a spokesman in Shanghai for Beaverton, Oregon-based Nike Inc. said the company had no response except to say that it "respected the government's decision."

    "We respect and follow the Chinese government's laws and regulations," Zhou said. He said he could not elaborate.

    The Chinese television regulator tightened controls over programming in May by prohibiting the use of English words and imported programs that promote "Western ideology and politics."

    The Nike advertisement is part of fast-growing foreign efforts to cash in on the huge popularity of basketball in China and the celebrity of James and other NBA players.

    Last month, a series of Nike ads in Singapore designed to resemble graffiti stirred emotions in the Asian nation known for its attention to cleanliness and civic order.

    The small, page-size posters featuring anime-style images of James were pasted over the ad panels of 700 bus stops, shocking commuters who were used to the ultratidy shelters. At least 50 commuters complained, shelter officials said.
    Copyright 2004 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
  2. kpsta

    kpsta Contributing Member

    Sep 2, 2001
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    I wonder if this thread isn't already in the D&D... :p
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