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Tuesday, 19 September, 2000, 09:29 GMT 10:29 UK
Olympic Nike chainsaw ad axed
Nike logo
Nike says the ad is merely a parody
A barrage of complaints has forced American television network NBC to drop a Nike advert featuring a female Olympic athlete being chased by a hooded man with a chainsaw.

The advert, for Nike sports shoes, features the American 1500m runner, Suzy Favor Hamilton, spotting a man in a hockey mask about to attack her with a chainsaw.

She runs off, and maintains such a strong pace that the attacker collapses wheezing with exhaustion.

We have a history of making controversial ads, and we certainly have succeeded in that

Charles Denson, Nike vice-president

A caption at the end of the ad says: "Why sport? You'll live longer."

Although accepted for airing by NBC, the American network with rights to the Olympic games, the commercial has suddenly been dropped because of what the network calls "adverse audience reaction".

Thousands of complaints

A spokeswoman said the station had received thousands of phone calls and e-mails complaining about it.

Nike denies the chainsaw advert was in poor taste; a company executive said he was disappointed by the response.

The company's vice president Charles Denson denied the ad could be construed as advocating violence towards women, and said the commercial was simply intended to be a parody.

"We have a history of making controversial ads, and we certainly have succeeded in that," he said, adding that Ms Hamilton had enjoyed filming the commercial.

Another advert, which features the Olympic cyclist, Lance Armstrong, resuscitating a circus elephant, together with the slogan: "Why sport? Healthy lungs," is still running.

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See also:

04 Sep 00 | Asia-Pacific
Athletes urged to rethink Nike ties
29 Jun 00 | Business
Nike gets profit boost
13 Jan 00 | Entertainment
Nike's DIY television ads
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