Just putting the words Nike Ad up as the title of this blog post are probably controversial.  If you read my blog with any regularity you know I talk about controversial stuff.  And by now most people have taken sides on the ad – you either love it and think it’s patriotic or you hate it and think that’s its unpatriotic.

Let me be upfront with full disclosure about this before I write the main point I have in bringing up the topic.  I think the ad is great.  It is effective.  It accomplished exactly what Nike and any company set out to do when they create and use an ad – to draw attention to their company and product.  To get as many people as possible to talk about the ad, the company, and the product.  To get people to have an emotional reaction to the product they are selling.

And isn’t that the point of ads? To get a reaction.  Yes, it is to get sales, but where do you think sales come from – attention.

Politicians do this as well.  Set aside what you think about the current occupant of 1600 Pennsylvania Ave.  You may have to try really hard to do this.  Which only proves the point I’m making here.  If you learn nothing else from him it should be this – he is really good at drawing attention to himself, making himself the center of attention, discussion, and the emotional state of many people in the world.

Religion is rife with such behavior as well.  Just turn on a televangelist and watch the controversy simmer.  Some “preacher” was told by God that he needs a $54 million jet to carry out ministry.  And people fall for it and give.

The problem with this is that companies, politicians, and religious figures have to keep pushing the limits and saying and doing more controversial things in order to draw attention to themselves.  Think about that for a moment – let it sink in.  And don’t be surprised when the next company runs an ad with a controversial figure in it.  You shouldn’t be surprised by it – you should be expecting it.  And when you expect it, it takes the emotional reaction down a few notches.

Likewise, don’t be surprised when certain politicians say or do controversial things – especially when their entire careers are built on using controversy to draw attention to themselves.  You shouldn’t be surprised by it – you should be expecting it.  And when you expect it, it takes the emotional reaction down a few notches.

Likewise, don’t be surprised when certain religious figures say or do controversial things.  You shouldn’t be surprised by it – you should be expecting it.  And when you expect it, it takes the emotional reaction down a few notches.

If you want to get upset over an ad – go for it.  Burn away.  It doesn’t really do anything.

Here’s my suggestion though – consider your options.  You can go the easy route – destroy something, boycott, etc.  You’ll feel really good about yourself – righteous indignation has that effect.  And don’t forget to post your burning on Facebook too – you know, doing the same thing that you are upset with Nike for doing: exploiting emotional responses in order to draw attention to yourself.

Your other option would be to do something to improve the lives of people.  If you are upset by the Nike ad and think it is against the troops, then respond by doing something for a veteran or active duty service member.  You’d at least be doing something productive.

Another option is to actually hear what the protest is about from those protesting instead of making assumptions about it.  That takes patience and setting aside your emotional reactions and actually listening to understand, not listening to respond.

Here’s the reality that we face – this ad is present for now, but will drift away in a week or two and be forgotten by many soon enough.  The real question is this – what kind of person are you?  Someone who lets ads, politicians, and “religious” figures determine your emotional state and reactions?  Or are you someone who takes responsibility for your life and does something to make a positive impact on people’s lives?

Stop whining and start doing something.  Frankly, the whining and complaining is immature and I’m tired of it.  Stop acting like a victim when your life is full of privilege and start doing something to improve the lives of people less fortunate or privileged than you.  Do something to build people up.  Do something to raise people up.  Do something for people who can’t repay you.  Whining and complaining are easy.  Going and doing is not.

That’s the message of the Nike ad when it comes down to it – paying a price to improve lives.  And it’s a good message for all of us regardless of our politics or company loyalties or religious beliefs.  Don’t cry and whine, show me what you’re doing to make the world a better place for all people.