Despite the controversy that surrounded Nike’s Kaepernick Ad campaign, the buzz created by it was great for Nike. In what was a savy move by Nike, in less than 24 hours, the ad created $43 million worth of media exposure. While it certainly polarized fans of Nike, it paints Nike as a very clear risk taker.
Not any company can do it, but it worked for Nike. Even with the buzz generated, Nike shares fell 3%, but quickly bounced back. This is the first in a string of Nike ads with Kaepernick, as he extended his Nike deal he’s had since 2011. This is the first buzz surrounding Kaepernick since he was kneeling for the national anthem in protest, as he has not been on a roster since 2016.
The new ad angered customers who do not look at Kaepernick kindly, seeing him and other players who kneel as disrespectful. In protest, they burned their apparel or otherwise destroyed it.
Others had praised the ad, such as Serena Williams. A gambling site posted betting lines for the price of Nike’s stock by the month’s end.
Donald Trump remained noticeably silent on the issue.
Nike know’s its audience. 2/3 of its customers are under 35 yers of age, and a wide range of ethnicities. Knowing this, they knew they could launch the ad without losing the customers that drive their business long term.
Nike has always supported up and coming, or disrupting athletes, as part of their marketing campaign. The company is planning a release of Kaepernick inspired shoes and t-shirts, which some proceeds of will go to the “Know Your Rights” campaign.
Nike is currently the supplier of the NFL’s jerseys and sideline apparel, with a contract that runs through 2028. Its interesting they are launching this campaign since Kaepernick is currently suing the NFL for collusion. However, Nike has always been contrary, and will continue the trend.
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