HONG KONG — Just did it. Nike has made a marketing blunder for the ages, Mingbao, a Hong Kong daily reports on Thursday, after the U.S. sports retailer launched a new model of sports shoes onto the Chinese market in the hope of cashing in on the upcoming Chinese New Year spending season. According to the newspaper, the shoes feature writing on their heels, with the Chinese character "Fa" on the left foot and "Fu" on the right.
These two Chinese ideograms do have festive connotations, "Fa" means "getting rich" and "Fu" means "happiness". The problem is that when placed standing together, the two characters become a compound term meaning "getting fat."
Chinese online commentators wasted no time in having some fun with the shoemaking giant. "After eating too much on New Year's, do we also need to advertise we have got fatter?!" asked one. according to Mingbao. Another quipped: "Nike really should find out which rival sent over an undercover agent to come up with such a genius design."
Safe to say that Nike will neither get rich nor find happiness with this model.