Last week Nike released a new advertisement featuring athlete Colin Kaepernick. For those who don’t know about the athlete, Kaepernick is a former quarterback of San Francisco 49ers. The controversy surrounding him was that in 2016, Kaepernick knelt during the national anthem in protest against racial injustice.
Following this, speaking at a rally in September 2017, Trump told the crowd: “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a b—- off the field right now, out – he’s fired!'”. Since then, Colin opted out of his contract with the 49ers and hasn’t signed with an NFL team yet.
Nike launched this ad on the 30th anniversary of its iconic slogan, “Just Do It.” The first banner was unveiled with Kaepernick with the words, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything” written across his face. It was a huge risk and a bold political move considering the problems America is currently facing with school shootings, racial attacks, and police brutality.
At first, the company faced a lot of backlash from Americans who resorted to boycotting the brand and burning their sneakers. However, Nike being in the market since so long, understands fully its customer base. Most of the sneaker buying market is under 35 years. Through this ad they wanted to send a strong message to their core customer base- millennials. The campaign increased core customers’ loyalty to Nike. It also raised awareness for the brand.
As it turns out, the marketing technique worked in favor of the sneaker and Sportswear Company. In fact Nike’s online sales surged since the campaign went live. Moreover, the ad has drawn a surge in the number of followers and likes on Nike’s social media handles. The company added almost 170,000 new followers on Instagram since the ad went live.
“Indeed, Nike’s management knows its American consumer well and the campaign featuring Mr. Kaepernick is a positive for the brand and likely its sales,” Wedbush Securities analyst Christopher Svezia said in a research note.
Nike’s stocks closed at an all time high of $83.47 on Thursday after the ad went live. Lebron James, who has an endorsement deal with Nike, put up a tweet commenting on the same.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 14, 2018
The video on Nike’s Instagram handle is the second-most liked post ever, just falling short of the World Cup campaign. Overall mentions across all platforms also surged as many celebrities and athletes joined in on the conversation.
It is good to see brands grabbing opportunities by marketing their products while addressing political issue as well.
By Abhishek Aggarwal