Social Media Reacts to Nike's Colin Kaepernick Ad
Yesterday, Nike debuted its new ad featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who made headlines in the last year when he started kneeling for the national anthem in 2016 as a way to protest social inequalities. Ad Age reports a tweet shows the former San Francisco 49er staring straight ahead with the following copy beneath his eyes: "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything." The tweet includes the Nike swoosh and the athletic brand's "Just Do It" slogan. The image is part of a much larger campaign from Nike to celebrate the 30th anniversary of its iconic "Just Do It" slogan. Within 24 hours of the release of the ad, Nike received more than $43 million worth of exposure, according to Bloomberg and the Apex Marketing Group. It's estimated that nearly $10.91 million of the buzz is negative, with #BoycottNike trending online and former customers burning their apparel. Shares of the shoe and apparel giant dropped $2.60, 3.2 percent, on Tuesday.
Total Retail's Take: Nike, for lack of a better phrase, just did it. I think we can all agree, no matter what side of the argument you're on, that Kaepernick is a polarizing choice for an ad campaign. Nike knew his inclusion in the marketing campaign would get a reaction from consumers — both positive and negative. This much of a reaction? I'm not sure Nike could have predicted it. At the stock market's closing on Tuesday, Nike's shares were down 3.2 percent, and the ad has sparked spirited debate on social media. In an age when companies try to stay away from hot-button topics, Nike chose the opposite. Nike is walking a fine line between alienating customers (and sending them to its competitors) vs. creating customer loyalty among those in agreement with Kaepernick's actions.
The media campaign also features Serena Williams, LeBron James, Odell Beckham Jr. and other famous athletes. However, due to the emotional nature of the anthem debate, I think many will be focusing on Kaepernick's inclusion.
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018