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THE YEAR OF TWO BO'S AND A FEDERAL LAW SUIT: THE NIKE AD CAMPAIGN



The year 1987 was interesting for many famous people with the moniker “Bo.” Nike decided to run its famous “Bo Knows” campaign with Bo Jackson and Bo Diddley “doing everything from crushing a home run, to dunking a basketball, to racing his bicycle and Nike-sponsored athletes then attest that “Bo knows” the corresponding sport. In the last segment, Diddley watches Bo’s inept attempts at hacking at a guitar and brings him back down to earth with the jab, “You don’t know Diddley.” The sneaker company penned a deal with the guitarist in 1989 with the slogan.




Unfortunately, Nike tried to get one over on Bo as they printed off more t-shirts in the late 90’s without giving Bo Diddley his fair share. The company, who had made over $200,000 from the t-shirts, claimed that they offered Bo Diddley $10-15,000 in royalties. Bo Diddley’s management denied such an offer telling the New York Times, “This is a clear case of a big bully picking on the little guy.” Bo Diddley would file a suit against the company in the Manhattan Federal Court alleging $500,000 in damages. In a statement on the suit Bo Diddley said, “I’m sorry that it’s come to this, but what’s right is right.”


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