Video of William S. Burrough’s Nike commercial

I’m sure you’ve now seen his Thanksgiving prayer fortyleven times. But this is the first time I’ve ever seen this.

(Thanks Amy!)

See also: Burroughs Nike commercial details.

Update: Direct download.

6 Comments

  1. Video’s dead/ =[

  2. Works for me…

  3. This commercial kind of disturbs me. I’m not sure if it’s a good thing or a bad thing. Are we outsiders in the fringe culture now being catered to by mass marketing? We, who have suffered from ridicule from the sheeple most of our lives because of our different beliefs, looks, or lifestyles? Is it becoming “hip” and “trendy” to be unique or think differently?
    Or are marketers just more aware of our presence? Maybe they’ve just noticed that we’re intelligent consumers and we’re not buying their crap? So they feel the need to try and grab our attention.
    Ironic isn’t it. Spend a lifetime of ridicule for marching to your own drum, and then suddenly you’re part of a demographic used in mass marketing:)

  4. Well, first of all alternative culture has always been the source for raw materials to process into mass culture.

    Secondly, this commercial was from 1994. Burroughs needed the money. I don’t know what the motivated Nike to hire Burroughs of all people to be in the ad. My guess is that someone there was a fan. I doubt there was any concerted effort to appropriate Burroughs’s work to sell athletic shoes. In other words, I imagine it played out more along these lines: someone said “let’s film a commercial with an old man talking about technology” and someone was like “Oh, let’s see if we can get William S. Burroughs!” Rather than “How can we appeal to cynical counter culturists? Maybe we should put Burroughs in a commercial.”

  5. Can you tell I’m not a big fan of TV, lol ;)? (And I watch mainly PBS or information/news stuff). Good point on the fringe being the raw material for mass culture. I just find the whole thing pretty ironic.

  6. I thought it might be a sign of the end times when I first saw that commerical on TV, but it’s really just an example of Hunter S. Thompson’s comforting quote: “When the going gets weird, the weird turn pro.” Still, what sort of demographic was that? “We’d like to sell more tennis shoes to people who believe that corporations are incarnated nova criminals.”

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