#usainbolt

In rare support of Nike

Who could forget Nike’s political stunt in favour of the kneelers supporting BLM? Recall the millions it paid Colin Kaepernick to tell us about the bravery of those sacrificing everything if they believed in it. Social justice is a thang at Nike, at least among the marketing department. Naturally, it provoked a lot of anger from real Americans who served their country, some who paid for it with their lives. Taya Kyle, the war widow of legendary sniper Chris Kyle, wrote a stern letter to Nike which was on the mark.

Now some are taking Nike to task over the sponsorship contracts it holds with superstars, especially females. Nike does not appear to sacrifice everything, especially when it believes it.

Six-time track and field Olympic gold medalist Allyson Felix penned an op-ed to The NY Times telling of the cold realities of re-contracting while considering having a child. Sadly the Nike contracting team is probably staffed with icy cold hard-nosed realists compared to the cuddly socially active marketing department.

33-yo Felix said Nike wanted to contract her 70% less after her pregnancy. She wanted the original value to stay in force even if she suffered slight underperformance in the months after childbirth. Her request is totally understandable. Surely Nike could have done some celebrity mother and child adverts to pluck at the heartstrings of the average person? Get all those mothers with newborns to sport a pair of Nike kicks and leotards as they push their strollers to yoga. Just the sort of mush that a marketing department craves.

High-end endorsements are extremely hard to get. The bigger the payout the higher the pressure and expectations thrust upon the star. Contracts are driven by athletic performance and the ability to drive sales off the back of it. These performance-based targets are likely to be written clearly in black and white. It sounds like Felix needed a much better sports agent to negotiate such clauses. Serena Williams had a child and her Nike endorsements rolled on unaffected. The tennis champ even narrated a “dream crazier” advert solely looking at women in sport.

Is Felix’s 70% haircut anything more than Nike’s endorsement team taking a view on her future performance when it comes to which brand ambassadors will keep driving sales? It must have made a judgement call that Felix was past her prime. If we looked at all the females sponsored by Nike, what rank is she within the long list of names? Usain Bolt hung up his golden boots at age 30.

It is unclear how many millions that Felix received from Nike every year. Sponsorship is slightly different from employment. There are lots of caveats in sports contracts which ensure that athletes behave responsibly “outside” the game to reflect the values of the organisation. One might feel some pity that the choice to have a child ruined her contract terms but Nike has not done anything illegal.

It is unlikely that any two Nike superstar endorsement contracts are the same. Michael Jordan ended up with his own brand within Nike. Undoubtedly he was paid better than an up and coming college NFL star. It is most likely that Serena Williams’ contract had many different term and conditions to Allyson Felix. If Felix signed her contract she took on all of the legalities within it, including the fine print. Unlike an employment contract, sponsorships terms can change on a whim.

The Nike sponsorship Rolodex is undoubtedly littered with stars – male and female – in their 30s, re-contracted at far lower rates than when they were in their prime. Felix wouldn’t be alone. Age, rather than maternity was probably the bigger driver for the Nike decision makers. The world of sports is brutal. Unless one is a Valentino Rossi of MotoGP fame, a Roger Federer/Serena Williams in tennis or an Usain Bolt in track & field, ongoing sponsorship tends to fade as these stars get put out to pasture.

Yet we are not Nike and we do not have the full facts of how it grants its limited marketing dollars. Perhaps we should ask why Adidas or Puma aren’t beating a path to Felix’s door to contract her and get some mileage out of the controversy? Nike knows the endorsement field probably better than most. The risk of her defection is minimal at best, therefore, Nike can drive hard bargains. Take it or leave it.

If you’re going to do it then stop the damn subtlety

5B00FFB0-3D84-43AA-A06F-0567222DACBE.jpeg

What is the obsession Hollywood has of trying to either wipe history or work to overlay irrelevance to rewrite it? Quit the subtle overtones. Just explicitly state your intent and let the free market box office judge it. When it comes to factual recreations like Dunkirk what is the point of wailing there were not enough people of colour in it when history shows us 99% of those that served were white? What does this achieve? Why not complain that 50% of the cast weren’t women waiting for the boats in the film? Probably because 99.9% on Dunkirk were men.

The latest Star Wars film was all about social justice, equality and identity. It has been a flop. Why can’t we just see a movie with lasers and goodies vs baddies? Should we fear alienating the LGBT Ewok community? Perhaps the sand people are really misunderstood minorities not terrorists? Shouldn’t Jabba the Hut seek compensation for decades of fat shaming? It is insane. Funnily enough when studying the box office takings we don’t need to look far to see the winners of the “Best Picture” selected by Hollywood in recent times have far undershot records. $100m box offices were a cert for an Oscar Best Picture award til 2004 after which it has been hit and miss since. 9 films in the last 13 have failed to breach $75mn. So instead of Hollywood being so preoccupied with espousing politics, perhaps it should look to the audience it ‘preaches’ to and starts ‘reaching’ them instead.

These are the Oscar stats. A 40% decline in viewers over 5 years. Is this a sign of a format that is no longer sustainable? Is the disintermediation/disruption caused by video on demand such that making a ‘date’ to go to the cinema is no longer a priority? Cinema attendance in the domestic US market is back at 1993 levels. In the 1990s Hollywood made 400-500 films annually. It now pumps out more than 700. The average revenue per film continues to head south.

So Man on the Moon depicts the story of Neil Armstrong. The film leaves out the historic and defining moment of planting the flag (a sign of American exceptionalism) some 50 years ago in beating arch enemy Russia in the space race. In 1969, had a straw poll of Americans (and much of the world) been taken at that moment it would have undoubtedly reflected unbridled pride in achievement. Many around the world must have looked at America in awe. What on earth is wrong with that? It was a stunning achievement and feat of ingenuity, science and invention.

Canadian actor Ryan Gosling, who plays Armstrong, said the moon landing “transcended countries and borders.” To a degree he is right. The world stood still on that day. Walter Cronkite had tears in his eyes. Yert should Jamaicans feel guilty that Usain Bolt won the 100m & 200m finals in three consecutive Olympics? There is no doubt the world looked in awe of him grinning with shoelaces untied as he jogged to the finish line. Yet for Jamaicans it was an extra dollop of pride. Great!

However Gosling’s defence of leaving out the flag scene was to cast aspersions on America. It is part of this new breed of Hollywood loathing of everything good. Where globalism trumps national pride. If the producers of this film hate America so much why not make the movie about a conspiracy theory that the moon landing was faked? Alternatively make Armstrong a disabled, black, transgender Muslim to ensure enough PC boxes are ticked to please the apparatchiks?

CM only requests Hollywood quits with subtle jabs at success and openly embraces its quest for shared misery and the rewriting of history. Only then will they see their box office numbers judge their stupidity. Grow up! Understand that pride in one’s country, flag, job, study or whatever else is to be encouraged. We need more of it not Hollywood’s obsession with oppression.

If you’re easily triggered don’t join the military

281C303E-99E3-4815-BD0C-60DF6EB69C94.jpeg

The Australian Defence Force (ADF) should never be actively trying to recruit spent cartridges to serve. What is the purpose to train people that don’t wish to step in harm’s way? Yet our top brass is hell bent on diversity and equality targets. Let’s not get the message confused. Those who actively seek to defend our nation with dignity and bravery deserve our highest praise and support. As written yesterday, it is absolutely clear that the project, even by the ADF’s own data and reporting, is failing. Instead of admitting defeat, the armed forces leadership believes doubling down is preferable.

The Navy thought serving RAN seamen painting fingernails pink in order to push the ‘100 Days for Change’ campaign was more virtuous than spending to defend our nation. Make no mistake, China’s military is not pandering to politically correct posturing. They must have chuckled at this overt display of weakness. President Xi wants to make his country the dominant, God-fearing player in the region and as far as displaying weakness goes Australia may as well hand over the keys to the Lodge.

8CFA86F1-D49C-41F8-8F36-2069B5DF13EF

Speaking to people related to personnel in the Defence Department yesterday, the argument was that diversity is a good thing. When asked to defend the position the individual couldn’t come up with a credible answer. The strongest argument offered was that allow smoother integration into civilian life. Since when did it become a current employers role to help the transition of leavers? Surely the aim is to keep soldiers for the long term not support the 25% who are actively looking to quit.

CM posed a question back. Usain Bolt can run 100m faster than me. I’ve wanted to hold the 100m world record since I was a kid. In order to fulfil my subjective sense of self worth he should be forced to run 150m while I’m at 75m. It’s a stupid argument.  Much like a heavyweight male boxer fighting a female heavyweight in the quest for equality.  The man is likely win 100% of the time. Look at men identifying as women  making such a mockery of women’s sports. Let’s openly accept that I’ll never beat Bolt and there is no point pretending it. If the ADF want to celebrate diversity, embrace the existence of biological and  physiological differences. Stop this nonsense that “diversity is our strength”  because outside of diversity of thought it doesn’t.

Therefore “if” men happen to be more qualified in terms of strength, endurance, fitness, accuracy or whatever metric that is chosen, why shouldn’t they be recruited over women? If women prove to be superior than men on the same metrics then they should be hired over the men they beat.  As written yesterday, the ADF lowered the targets for women because they were too onerous in the hope the execution rate would be more easily achieved yet they missed by a wider margin. Instead of actively accepting fewer women are interested in a military career than men, males are actively discriminated against. Recruiters face demotion for not complying with big brother. In civilian life companies would be fined and face jail terms for operating similar structures. So much for equality!

It’s not rocket science. The military should never be a social experiment. Period. Our military leadership even wants to ban death symbols. Honestly if death symbols make our troops feel better morale then let them. What  surprise that our diversity programs are sinking morale to record lows? Even a large slug of female military  personnel don’t believe these programmes are effective yet we will push our Waterloo strategy.

CM is going to take a wild stab in the dark. War veterans or those in special forces must be rolling their eyes. Some SAS soldiers have confessed that in training, new cadets are able to raise a red card if they feel their instructor is being too harsh? Discipline is the most important part of a military. Following orders. Surely in the heat of battle a commander needs to be able to order troops to take a hill or position, not spend crucial minutes debating subordinates on the validity of the plan. If one is so easily triggered by members of the home team how effective could they possibly be in battle? Instead of waving a white flag why not waggle pink fingers to the enemy in the hopes they won’t be shot?

Time for the military to be handed back to professional soldiers not caught up in political correctness. If our enemies are “sons of bitches” best we become “total sons of bitches” rather than “fairies”.