March 19, 2002

No doubt Nike have taken

No doubt Nike have taken the very best legal advice around their promotional material, but I just briefly checked the Advertising Standards Authority's codes and found

Advertisers, publishers and owners of other media should ensure that advertisements are designed and presented in such a way that it is clear that they are advertisements.
Advertisements and promotions addressed to or featuring children should not exploit their credulity, loyalty, vulnerability or lack of experience:
a) they should not be made to feel inferior or unpopular for not buying the advertised product
b) they should not be made to feel that they are lacking in courage, duty or loyalty if they do not buy or do not encourage others to buy a particular product

both of which appear to have been disregarded in this case. We'll see.

A little more about this

A little more about this Nike FC promotion.
From the Sport Telegraph (quoted here):

..."an ambitious new initiative to help educate and develop the football skills of more than half a million British youngsters over the next three years". Schoolchildren from seven to 11 will receive coaching. If henceforth they are to favour a particular brand of clothing and footwear, of course, Nike will be powerless to intervene.
The new missionaries, with their logo-embossed beads and trinkets, nevertheless come across like a breath of fresh air in a world described by Nike's Brian Marwood, the erstwhile Arsenal and (for the benefit of those who blinked) England winger. An agent rang him recently asking for a boot deal. Nothing unusual about that, you may think - except that the client was aged 12. "Even the agents," observed Marwood, "are getting younger."

And in the Observer (quoted here):
The Nike FC scheme, developed over the past few years by a respected German coach, Horst Wein, aims to help hard-pressed teachers to lay on better sessions for kids. Nike have initially appointed coaching directors in London and Manchester, and will also work with 'their' clubs, including Leeds and Sunderland, in local community schemes. Around 1 million is earmarked for the initiative this year, the first of at least three.
...[the FA's National Game Development Officer, Steve] Parkin professes not to want anything to do with politics. He may have no choice.

Primary-school sports teachers are being trained in the Nike FC promotion: it's "an educational project". Yet the advertising is blatantly direct, pushing trainers and kit in their promotional leaflets to "help your performance". This from any commercial company would be too much. From Nike, it's sickening.

Balancing facts: Nike's Philip Knight

Balancing facts: Nike's Philip Knight has personal wealth of $5.7 billion. Nike's 2001 sales: $9.5 billion.

More Nike Football. From their

More Nike Football. From their promotional leaflet (distributed in my children's state school, where the pupils are being encouraged to take part in Nike FC competitions):

"By becoming a member of Nike FC you have the chance to learn skills and techniques from some of the world's greatest players."
What will help your performance?
Dwight Yorke wears the Air Zoom Total 90... Andy Cole wears the Match Mercurial... Fobbie Fowler wears the Tiempo Premier..."Nike FC players use the best equipment they can get their hands on"

Meanwhile, nikebiz.com leads with
"Nike has a simple message for viewers who tune in to NBC Friday evening to see events unfold in Salt Lake City: Move."
It's unfortunate that sweatshop workers in Nike's contract factories are in no position to move, owing to their pay and conditions.

March 18, 2002

If you have school-age kids,

If you have school-age kids, maybe they're becoming involved in NikeFC too. "Nike FC" is the latest covertly branded marketing to kids (part of the Nike Football effort). It's appalling that these multinational sales campaigns are infiltrating our schools under the guise of sports and education. Doubly so when the company involved still has so much to cover up.

The kids are encouraged to visit www.nikefc.com and join in surveys and games surrounding "nike football".
Who will tell them the truth?

When [a couple] were interviewed and photographed (in November 2001) the woman was eight months pregnant. They are scared. Already they are paying US$8 per month rent, and another US$1.20 for water. In November 2001his [monthly] wage was US$43.5 and when there was overtime available the maximum extra income he was able to earn was UD$20. "Now there is no overtime... As a parent I am very worried about my baby."

March 04, 2002

At the breakfast table, Dylan

At the breakfast table, Dylan (9) fished stuck-together Weeto pairs from his bowl. Then a triple Weeto. And asked, very sensibly, "What's the chance of finding four stuck together?". Well - duh - it's a simple formula, son. Luckily I didn't show him this ("science toys you can make with your kids"), or this, even... (via Justin)

March 03, 2002

In other news: Irish shoppers

In other news: Irish shoppers now have to pay a plastic-bag levy. That should certainly reduce the blight of polythene-infested hedgerows.
Our own Government's highest environmental issues seems to be road congestion, and proposes GPS receivers (transmitters, according to the Observer?) to charge for road use according to traffic conditions. Here's a better idea: decentralise it. Allow all car drivers to charge the driver immediately behind, proportionately to (their speed divided by their distance from you); then pay something like 80% tax on this "earned income". Motorbike riders can charge double. If you drive very sensibly you could even turn a small profit on your journeys.

This Morpheus stuff reminds me.

This Morpheus stuff reminds me. Some blockheads may make it necessary to demonstrate substantial "non-infringing" use of a general-purpose network infrastructure. The Gnutella infrastructure has several - Patrick has a live one which is not only substantal and non-infringing, but positively in line with the "content industry", and a whole lot of fun for everyone else.

Morpheus - bigger than Napster,

Morpheus - bigger than Napster, apparently - bites the dust (via a bizarre and labyrinthine set of circumstances which I really care little about). And rapidly reincarnates as a cheap knockoff of the Gnucleus gnutella-net client.

I hadn't imagined it was possible to make a "cheap knockoff" of a GPL application, but the Morpheus/Streamcast guys managed it: take source, add adverts, palm off on an unsuspecting and mildly desperate clientele! Meanwhile the Gnutella gnetwork is holding up well. If you want untrusted neighbours and a limited search-horizon, Gnutella scales impressively - the ping-floods meltdown scenarios are ancient history.

Question for C|net: is that really 53 million downloads in two days?