The controversy of Nike by which they demand to the company retire of the market a model of sport footwear (and other 5 cases of controversial logos)

The controversy of Nike by which they demand to the company retire of the market a model of sport footwear (and other 5 cases of controversial logos)


Is Nike’s new sports shoe model “stepping on” the name of Allah hidden in its soles?

When it comes to creating the logo of a company, it is usually necessary to invest a good amount of research time … and money.

But projects can be counterproductive in the most unexpected way, as evidenced by the controversy surrounding the latest Nike product.

The sportswear company faces harsh criticism from people of Muslim faith who claim that the design on the soles of their new Air Max 270 shoe model resembles the word ” Allah ” in Arabic.

In two weeks and until January 31, an online petition for the product to be withdrawn from the market gathered more than 17,000 signatures.

“We urge Nike to immediately remove this blasphemous and offensive footwear and all products with this logo similar to the word Allah of its international sales,” indicates the petition presented on the platform.

Nike, for its part, issued a statement assuring that the logo was nothing more than a stylized representation of the trademark Air Max.

“Any other meaning or representation that is interpreted is not intentional,” the company said.

“Nike respects all religions and we take concerns of this kind seriously .”

The Nike is not the only case of logos that ended up generating controversy.

The designers of brands with experience in the sector know very well that, once the product comes on the market, it can be interpreted in many ways and this can achieve the opposite effect to that desired by the company.

As an example of this, we present these other five examples:

The confusion of the London Olympics

The design chosen to celebrate the Olympic Games in London in 2012 became a case study about a brand that went wrong.

Unveiled in 2007, the logo was criticized for its distant design, with a radical typeface and the unusual choice of a striking rose as the main color.

London 2012 logo
Copyright of the GETTY IMAGES image
Image caption The controversy over the logo of the Olympic Games in London did not prevent its commercial success.


The reaction of many people was to laugh, and some even thought that the images were pornographic.

The Iranian Olympic authorities interpreted the numbers of “2012” as the disordered letters of the word “Sion”, as a veiled conspiracy in favor of Israel.

But there was even more controversy when the British media reported that the logo, designed by the consultancy Wolff Olins, had cost more than US $ 600,000.

However, according to the International Olympic Committee, the 2012 London Games generated around US $ 120 million in product franchises with the controversial logo: the second best result in history.

“Satanic curls” in your soap

Procter and Gamble, the American health and personal care products company, had to deal with accusations of Satanism in the 1980s.

His then logo with a bearded elder and 13 stars had been used since 1851.

P & G logo
Copyright of the P & G image
Image caption The original Procter and Gamble logo was the target of conspiracy theories.


More than 100 years later, the company became the target of rumors that the design made references to the devil and that the firm made secret donations to satanic cults.

All because some people with a great imagination interpreted the beard and hair of man as the representation of a demon with horns, and it was assumed that the stars hid secret combinations of the number 666, which is traditionally associated with the devil.

The company ended up modifying the logo in 1991, but it had its revenge when in 2007 it won a US $ 19 million lawsuit against the rival company Amway, since it turned out that it was involved in spreading the rumors.

The toilet university

The attempt of the University of California to modernize its institutional image ended up going down the drain in 2012.

A new brand designed especially to be used in diplomas and letterheads was intended to give a modern touch to the prestigious school.

Logos of the University of California
Copyright of the UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA imageImage caption Can you see a toilet in the right image?



Olympic plagiarism

There is another famous and more recent case that peppered an Olympics.

In 2015, the organizing committee of the Tokyo 2020 Games discarded its first logo after receiving accusations of plagiarism .

Tokyo 2020 old logo paired with the Theater de Liege
Copyright of the TOKYO 2020 / THEATER DE LIEGE IMAGEImage caption Copy or not?


Belgian designer Olivier Debie took legal action against the committee after claiming that his Japanese colleague Kenjiro Sano had copied the emblem he had created for a theater in Belgium two years earlier.

Kenjiro and the Olympic authorities denied the accusations.

But, a year later, the Tokyo 2020 logo was replaced by the “Harmonized Checkered Emblem” by Asao Tokolo.

A bitter taste of juice

The world famous juice brand Tropicana was left with a bitter aftertaste when it decided to change the logo of its line of orange juice in 2009.

The company replaced its traditional image of an orange with a glass full of juice.

Tropicana logos
Copyright of the TROPICANA imageImage caption The new Tropicana logo (below in the image) had a very short life.


Tropicana then spent millions of dollars to redesign its best-selling product in the North American market.

However, once the new containers went on the market, consumers made it clear that they did not like it.

resounding 20% drop in sales made Tropicana go back to the original design.

A Tropicana executive admitted that “they had underestimated the emotional bond that customers had with the original packaging.”

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