We thought “black and tan” just referred to a mixed pint of beer, but apparently it’s also a reference to nasty British paramilitaries who went after Irish civilians in the 1920s. And therefore, Nike’s new “Black and Tan” sneakers, released in time for St. Patrick’s Day this weekend, have caused something of an uproar among both Irish citizens and Irish Americans.
For what it’s worth, the kicks are actually officially dubbed the Nike SB Dunk Low. The black and tan version refers to one particular color scheme. That said, Nike has already issued an apology through Fox, making it clear the nickname was meant to reference beer, not paramilitaries.
While brand and product naming is a huge endeavor for big companies, one lesson here seems to be that even unofficial monikers better be thoroughly researched, or at least Googled. But for what it’s worth, we weren’t aware that Nike was even releasing a special St. Patrick’s Day sneaker until the controversy broke — furthering the idea that “all press is good press.”