Nike: A brand with beliefs and balls?

Nike Colin Kaepernick

Nike made a huge statement this week as they launched their 30 years ‘Just Do It‘ campaign and used one of the sports stars on their roster, Colin Kaepernick with a provocative message:

“Believe in something, Even if it means sacrificing everything”

Colin was one of the NFL star players who decided to highlight social and racial injustice in the United States by controversially kneeling during the national anthem before games, which is one of the main reasons why he is out of contract since 2016.

It is two years since he first knelt during the national anthem and this quarterback’s movement quickly spread around the NFL causing uproar with many including the idiot President, Donald Trump suggesting they should all be fired for their gesture.

Kaepernick has been a Nike-sponsored athlete since 2011.

Colin Kaepernick kneeling

The NFL didn’t respond specifically to Nike’s decision to use Kaepernick in their ad campaign but issued a statement saying: “The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action. … We embrace the role and responsibility of everyone involved with this game to promote meaningful, positive change in our communities.”

The campaign has engaged many people but there has also been a backlash with many on social media declaring that they will throw out their Nike sportswear.

The recent figures also show that the stockmarket has reacted poorly with a negative performance of their shares.

Nike clearly took a gamble on this campaign by grabbing the controversial but powerful sentiment behind Kaepernick’s actions and harnessing it. They knew from the public and media reaction to the kneeling “movement” that it would polarise opinions and that it would get a very strong reaction.

Did they do this for the publicity, did they do this because they believe in someone fighting for a cause or did they do this because they really believe in the cause they were fighting for?

If this is core to the brand values and beliefs, then Nike have won as we now know they have bravely put these out there. regardless of success or failure.

If this was a calculated publicity stunt, then we still don’t know if Nike have won or lost.

I’d like to think they are bravely standing for something they believe in.

Just Do It!

Greg 

Greg Canty is a Partner of Fuzion Communications who offer Social Media Consultancy Services from our offices in Dublin and Cork, Ireland

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