Synopsis: Nike Kicks Off NFL Season With Colin Kaepernick Ad, Sparking Protest
This week’s hot article, Need to Know: Nike Kicks Off NFL Season With Colin Kaepernick Ad, Sparking Protest, is a little different take on the ever-changing landscape of social awareness, justice, and how one bold brand is changing the landscape of American perception and a company’s bottom line.
This year, Nike has been standing up as a brand who takes strong stances on controversial social issues. One noteworthy example of such bold brand behavior happened this April when Nike made an announcement that its marijuana inspired 2018 SB Dunk Mid White Widow shoes were set to unveil for 4/20. The cannabis industry was once again in the limelight with a major brand coming forward to capitalize on the social stigmatization of cannabis-related products. That was just one step Nike took to show the market that they meant business when it came to social dissension in the global marketplace.
Flash to now: The NFL season kicked off September 6 with a game between last year’s Super Bowl winners the Philadelphia Eagles and the visiting Atlanta Falcons. While Philadelphians watched their champion team pull off a 6 point win, viewers at home were once again confronted with Nike’s Colin Kaepernick Ad reminding them of the year-long protest against police brutality and institutional racism. “Kaepernick was featured in a two-minute TV spot aired during the first break of the third quarter in the opening night game. Joined in the advertisement by Serena Williams, LeBron James, skateboarder Lacey Baker, and other socially conscious athletes, Kaepernick told viewers to pursue their dreams, no matter what doubters may say.” – Zach Harris
Soon after Colin tweeted the following:
“If people say your dreams are crazy, if they laugh at what you think you can do, good,” Kaepernick narrates. “Stay that way because what non-believers fail to understand is that calling a dream crazy is not an insult, it’s a compliment.”
Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything. #JustDoIt pic.twitter.com/x5TnU7Z51i
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 5, 2018
Two days before Nike’s stock tumbled 3.2% amidst protests over the new Kaepernick media campaign. Dissenters took to social media to call for a boycott of Nike’s products. “Over 30,000 people were tweeting with the hashtag #NikeBoycott on Tuesday morning, making it among the top trending topics on Twitter. Some posted images of themselves burning and ripping their Nike shoes and apparel.” – Reuters Still others reacted positively to the campaign while retail analysts were divided.
Despite the backlash, today Time announced that “Nike Sales Increased 31% After Kaepernick Ad.” According to Edison Trends, cited: “This past Labor Day there was speculation that Nike’s Colin Kaepernick ad campaign could lead to a drop in sales. Edison Trends investigated the sales over the holiday and its research, at this point, does not seem to support that theory. In fact, Nike sales grew 31% from Sunday through Tuesday over Labor Day this year, besting 2017’s comparative 17% increase.”
Nike has come out clearly to help relieve the social burden and injustice of misconduct on the part of the US Justice system toward minorities. In fact, this ties to the ongoing debate over imprisonment for cannabis. More importantly, it echos a call to help those exploited by the criminal justice system.
What is apparent to us at Zefyr is that social justice issues just like this are intertwined with cannabis as many of the same issues plague our industry. Nike’s actions should serve as a harbinger of things to come and an example to leaders all over the word to stand up and fight for justice and Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.