In an effort to honor Ireland just before St. Patrick’s Day, Nike named their new limited edition shoe after the layered beer drink made of stout and lager. The Black and Tans, because of a reference to the British paramilitary group, offend Irish communities.
According to IrishCentral.com, President of the Irish Lobby Immigration Reform Ciaran Staunton said it is the “American Equivalent of calling a sneaker ‘the Al Qaeda.’”
Staunton also asked, “Is there no one at Nike able to Google Black and Tan?”
The beer-themed shoe is named for the drink made mixing stout and lager beers in a glass generally using Guinness and Harp or Bass. Although those brews are Irish, a Black and Tan is not commonly ordered at bars in Ireland.
The sons and daughters of Erin are upset, not because the drink isn’t common to pubs in Ireland, but because it evokes memories of the British militant group, the “Black and Tans” that used ruthless and brutal tactics against civilians to suppress an Irish revolution during 1920.
Nike offered an apology for unintentionally upsetting Irish communities, and told Fox News that the shoe was “unofficially named by some using a phrase that can be viewed as inappropriate and insensitive.”
One of the ads for the $90 shoe read: “Tis the season for Irish beer and why not celebrate with Nike. The Black and Tan sneaker takes inspiration for the fine balancing act of a Stout (Guinness) on top a Pale Ale (Harp) in a pint glass.”
Vermont-based ice cream makers, Ben & Jerry’s took a similar misstep in 2006 when they unveiled their Black and Tan flavor and then also quickly apologized.
Marketing professor from Emerson College, David Gerzof Richard, said Nike erred by not doing their research.
“Even if companies are acting localy, they need to be thinking globally,” he told the Boston Herald. You got to do a Google search. You could have gone to Wikipedia and put this in,” Richard added.