JD Sports ad showing motorcyclists in Nike trainers criticised

The retailer has come under fire for an advert showing motorcyclists wearing trainers and doing wheelies.
JD Sports ad showing motorcyclists in Nike trainers criticised
JD Sports shopGetty Images

JD Sports has come under fire for posting an advert showing motorcyclists wearing trainers – footwear deemed unsuitable for riding a motorbike.

The advertising watchdog has received more than 40 complaints about the ad for Nike Air Max 95s, which also features stunts such as wheelies.

Motorcycle groups criticised JD Sports for promoting “inappropriate” footwear and “irresponsible” riding.

The company defended its ad and said it takes health and safety very seriously.

The sportswear retailer posted the ad on Facebook on 4 March.

It features OneWheelWavey, a biker who frequently performs stunts at global events, as well as other riders on motorcycles and quad bikes.

A disclaimer at the bottom of the video states: “Stunts performed by professionals – do not try at home.”

However, JD Sports turned off comments on the post after negative comments quickly flooded in.

One Facebook user wrote: “This is disgusting!! Nike JD Sports you need to take this down. So many youngsters think it’s ok to ride in trainers and tech pants it’s soooo not!! Do the right thing and take it down!!”

Another wrote: “Literally promoting EVERYTHING that gives bikers a bad name. No gear, no ankle protection, wheelies…”

Screenshot from advert

JD Sports

Industry bodies have also chimed in with their concerns about the content of the ad, accusing JD Sports of promoting irresponsible behaviour – especially among younger riders.

Paul Morgan from the British Motorcyclists Federation said: “Proper motorcycle boots with reinforced features, that provide adequate protection to the foot and ankle of the rider, are crucial to minimise injuries in the case of accidents.

“Casual shoes and trainers are entirely inappropriate for riding motorcycles and are likely to shred or slip off in the event of an accident causing significant injury to the rider.”

Tony Campbell, chief executive of the Motorcycle Industry Association, said: “It is difficult to comprehend how an organisation like JD Sports can get this so wrong on many levels.”

As well as showing unsafe footwear, “to promote anti-social and irresponsible riding in an effort to sell more trainers is again quite unbelievable,” he said.

“The industry has some clear self-imposed advertising guidelines where any form of irresponsible riding depicting speed, wheelies, stoppies or burnouts is a strict no no.

“For JD Sports to promote and glamorise this to young people is irresponsible.”

The Advertising Standards Authority said it was currently reviewing the complaints, but had so far not initiated a formal investigation into the matter.

JD Sports told the BBC the advert was filmed with professionally trained riders on both private land as well as indoors.

“This followed our health and safety team conducting a rigorous risk assessment that was shared with the riders, to ensure maximum safety,” the company said.

“We take health and safety very seriously across all aspects of our business.”

The BBC has contacted Nike for comment.

Source: bbc.co.uk

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