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Nike Ad Features HIV-Positive Runner

February 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.

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