Nike's new advert received much backlash in Japan for highlighting racial discrimination in the country. The video features three young football players of mixed heritage and their stories of "real life experiences" in sports. With about 25 million views on social media and 80,000 shares, the video has Japan embroiled in a fierce debate over openly discussing the country's issues on racism.
In an article featured on the BBC, the Japanese are generally still unaccustomed to discussions on the country's sensitive issues and even questioned if a foreign brand should have the right to ring on the matter.
Nike Japan explained that the ad highlights the daily struggles and conflicts of people to move and establish a future through sports.
Comments on social media accused Nike of exaggerating the scale of discrimination, also saying that it was unfair for the brand to single out Japan. Other social media users have also called to boycott Nike products.
According to Morley Robinson, a Japanese-American journalist, the Japanese do not take kindly to outside voices telling them to change their ways.
"But if a foreigner demonstrates a deep understanding of Japanese culture or Japanese rules, then those same Japanese who would otherwise take offence will gush forth with praise," Morley explains.
Meanwhile, Steve McGinnes, the author of "Surfing the Asian wave: How to survive and thrive in the new world order," describes the Nike advert as an "own-goal."
"Endemic racism is going to be a sensitive topic in any culture. But Nike should not think, as a foreign brand, that it is appropriate for them to point it out to their hosts. They are crudely putting a spotlight onto a subject that many feel should be off-limits to guests. It's a huge own-goal for Nike."
McGinnes adds, "In 2020, should America or an American brand be taking the high ground on racism and telling the rest of the world what they are doing wrong? Clearly, a lot of Japanese people think they shouldn't."
Nike is not the only brand that came under fire for misunderstanding Asian consumer behaviour and culture. Last year, luxury brand Dior was slammed for using a map of China that excluded Taiwan.
Brand adviser and author on Asian business Martin Roll points out how arrogance and complacency are the worst enemies for Western brands in Asia as they may underestimate the pride of their Asian consumers and local cultures.