Nike Furore Leads to New Chinese Ad Rules

14 December 2004

A Nike commercial aired and subsequently banned in China has led to an overhaul of the country's advertising regulations.

The nation's broadcast watchdog, the State Administration of Radio, Film and Television, has announced new rules to keep "offensive" ads off television.

Ren Qian, a deputy director at SARFT, says the guidelines, to be effective early 2005, will consider a commercial's design, imagery, propriety and potential impact on young viewers. They will not specifically target foreign advertisers, because home-produced commercials have their fair share of offensive content, namely sexual innuendo.

The ad at the centre of the controversy featured US basketball star LeBron James battling and defeating a cartoon kung fu master and a pair of dragons.

Following the nationalistic furore, the US-based sports equipment giant quickly apologised for any offence caused by the implication that the ad represented Chinese culture being defeated by the West.

Data sourced from Wall Street Journal Online; additional content by WARC staff