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Mad Brit Diary

The naked truth about the Nike ad.

(Friday, Janaury 31, 2003) -- OK, so you're wondering whether the new Nike Shox NZ running shoe advertisement, where the naked guy, wearing just a scarf, dodges English bobbies across a soccer pitch, really happened. It looks pretty real doesn't it?

Not so, folks. The ad, put together by Nike ad agency Wieden and Kennedy, was filmed over four freezing cold days at The Den, London-based Millwall's spanking new stadium. No wonder the guy runs "like a bull with gas," as the voice-over goes.

Actor Mark Bowden, 32, who had to bare all, told The Sunday Mirror in London that the worst part of the shoot "was being rugby-tackled by these 14-stone stuntmen, playing the policemen."

"On TV, part of his body is blurred, but he wasn't allowed any underwear on the shoot," an insider said. "But the cold definitely did not affect his performance."

The Portland, Ore., ad firm initially wanted to set the streaker in a National Football League game, but the idea was canned because "streaking" was more a part of British culture. Nike has a contract with numerous soccer clubs in England, including Manchester United, but the teams refused to allow their players to take part in the ad because they didn't want to look as if they were condoning streaking.

The ad has drawn complaints from the American Family Association. All the soccer players and people in the ad are actors. Some of the crowd was digitally reproduced.

War or soccer ?

Concern is brewing over the 2003 FIFA World Youth Championship for under-20 men which is set to start March 25 in the United Arab Emirates. With a United States war against Iraq on the horizon, the tournament which involves 24 national teams, including the U.S., might have to be moved to another venue, possibly Japan.

The U.A.E, which borders Saudi Arabia, extends military-basing privileges to the U.S. and England. The Americans, coached by former D.C. United coach Thomas Rongen, are set to play Paraguay, Germany and South Korea in Group F.

This is a record fourth straight world championship appearance for the U.S. team which has advanced at least to the second round in each of the last three tournaments.

The Mad Brit will contribute occasionally to SoccerTimes op-ed section. He can be e-mailed at

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