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Nike forced to cancel $16m campaign

Published
today Dec 5, 2019
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A $16-million campaign is about to cost Nike even more. 

Nike forced to cancel $16m campaign. - Facebook: Fleet Feet

 
A North Carolina judge has banned the sportswear giant from using the slogan 'Sport Changes Everything', used as part of a major campaign first launched during the Major League Baseball All-Star Game and that was planned to run through 2020. 
 
North Carolina-headquartered sportswear retailer Fleet Feet has called out the campaign, accusing Nike of running afoul of its federally protected trademarks 'Change Everything' and 'Running Changes Everything'. 

Fleet Feet alleged in its complaint that the national campaign was playing on its own trademark, which it has used since 2012, despite Nike being aware as the latters' footwear currently sits in nearly 200 Fleet Fee stores. 
 
In a 51-page decision issued on Monday, U.S. District Judge Catherine Eagles awarded Fleet Feet a preliminary injunction. The judge found, that given Nike’s large advertising expenditure capabilities, Nike could easily trample Fleet Feet’s own marketing efforts and cause consumer confusion. 
 
Nike argued that Fleet Feet improperly “delayed in seeking a preliminary injunction” and that it “presented no evidence its revenue has begun to decline or that its franchisees are leaving due to the [Sports Changes Everything] campaign."
 
Still, the judge sided with Fleet Feet. 
 
The three-part video campaign aimed at encouraging youth sports featured teen mother and soccer player Nayeli Rivera, Chicago-native Maynor De Leon, who tries to lose 500 pounds, and runner Justin Gallegos, who wants to run a half-marathon in two hours with cerebral palsy. 
 
As part of the injunction, Nike is prohibited from any use whatsoever of the phrase ‘Sport Changes Everything,’ and requires Nike to immediately remove the 'Sport Changes Everything' phrase from its own website, social media, billboards and just about anywhere else. 
 
The original campaign is still free to be modified and the trademark slogan can be omitted. 
 
Nike has already filed a notice of appeal, as it intends to appeal the decision to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, according to thefashionlaw.com. 

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