Nike Ad Features HIV-Positive Runner
Feb. 24, 1995
PORTLAND, Ore. (AP) _ Nike is including an HIV-positive athlete in a new promotion for its ``Just Do It'' campaign.
While many advertisers have carefully steered away from the AIDS issue, Nike launched an ad earlier this month featuring runner Ric Munoz.
The 30-second commercial shows Munoz running through Malibu Canyon State Park in Los Angeles. As the scenery changes, captions say: ``Rick Munoz, Los Angeles; 80 miles every week; 10 marathons every year; HIV positive; Just Do It.''
``Nike has never been a company that looks for the safest solution,'' spokesman Keith Peters said. ``Our feeling is that HIV causes a strong response, but we wouldn't want it to cause one of pity, rather one of understanding about what determination really is.''
``Finally, at least one mainstream marketer is acknowledging reality _ that there are millions of people living with HIV,'' said Bradley Johnson, a Los Angeles editor of Advertising Age magazine.
Munoz, 36, works as a legal secretary in West Hollywood, Calif. He is gay and has known since 1987 that he is infected with the virus that causes AIDS.
``I really never let it affect me,'' he said. ``It was something new to deal with, just another in a long line of challenges.''
The ad fits Nike's ``Just Do It'' slogan, said Jack Cox, a member of the Portland-based HIV Advocacy Council who was diagnosed with the virus 10 years ago.
``It's an affirmation that says, `Do what you can. Just do your life,''' he said. ``The message is right on.''
On Wednesday, Olympic diver Greg Louganis became the latest star athlete to acknowledge that he has AIDS.