Nike  LDNR

Above: Nike LDNR image wall, Nike store, Oxford Circus, February 2018. Credit: Oscopic.


LDNR is the acronym of the Louisiana Department of Natural Resources but it is also a neologism or fake acronym invented by the Nike sportswear brand meaning: Londoner. The lead photos in Nike's wearisome 2018, "Nothing Beats a LDNR" campaign are worthy of brief comment.

The photo-images are of course intended to place Nike sports garments into a milieu of youthful urban cool (ODE: "fashionably attractive or impressive"; OED: "hipness, stylishness").

What is most remarkable about the photos is that the activities which "say" cool are are now unchanged since 1976 in California, USA. Forty-two years later BMX and skateboarding still epitomize urban cool--other images in the Nike series of dial-a-cliche pictures include a person abusing a Boris bike; a young person scowling in front of a South London council block; and young a person doing keepie-uppies with a football.

The visual language of urban street culture--which also includes other aspects of hip-hip such as graffiti-art (far too edgy for Nike), DJing, and MCing-rapping--seems to have become entrenched and ossified: "cool" seems to have become set-in-stone and so the photo-imagery that is intended to signify coolness has become stale and predictable--the attributes and activities of cool are now unchanged since I was ten-years-old.

(25 February 2018)