Wayne Rooney, fists clenched, arms outstretched, celebrating a goal (or being crucified) while covered in white and red paint (or is it blood?) forming a cross on his body. Wow what an image!
Predictably, The Daily Mail has its little England knickers in a twist at this already iconic Nike ad: Nike attacked over Rooney 'warrior' picture. Then runs ANOTHER image of it as columnist, Stephen Glover, tuts and is revolted by the crusader connotations.
“This is a depiction of primitive, violent man — a bloodthirsty barbarian lifted from the dark ages.Well really Mr Glover, if you have to ask! Such shameless dissembling!
There is an echo too, surely deliberate, of Christ's crucifixion. Rooney's arms are outstretched, as those of Christ on the cross, and his hands are half clasped, as Renaissance painters often showed the nailed hands of Christ. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Nike has cynically mixed up its theology. Rooney is part Woden, the Norse god of war, part the suffering but triumphant Christ.
Why does the multinational sportswear manufacturer Nike choose to depict him in a new poster as a vicious bloodstained warrior and a sort of primitive Norse god?”
Nike is all innocence, obviously. A Nike spokeswoman told The Associated Press that the ad was not intended to have religious connotations.
"Absolutely not. It's just a celebration of Wayne and the unique way he celebrates when he scores a goal, with his arms outstretched and his fists clenched. That suggested England's flag to us. It's not intended to have religious connotations at all," she said.Yeah right
Frankly I think it’s a damn fine "tactical execution" created by Nike's ad agency Wieden + Kennedy. The Independent calls it “the most graphic use of blood in an ad since Benetton's newborn baby", I’d agree with that and concur that it conjures up all the powerful imagery that the Mail pretends to be offended by.
As Stephen Brook in the Guardian asks “what of the official sponsorship partner? At this stage of the game they are pretty much invisible. The score is Nike 6 Adidas 0.”
Top work chaps! And where can I get a poster for the kids?