Here's What Will Happen to Nike in the Wake of That Colin Kaepernick Ad, According to a Retail Analyst
Arguably this week's biggest news story — coming in nearly neck and neck with coverage of Brett Kavanaugh's Supreme Court confirmation hearing — was the release of Nike's newest ad. The campaign stars NFL free agent (and America's most controversial quarterback, if you ask the president, which nobody did), Colin Kaepernick.
Naturally, everyone had an opinion. Twitter was alight with users who embraced the ad, which featured a close-up of Kaepernick's face and white text reading, "Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything," alongside Nike's iconic slogan, "Just do it."
Early supporters included fellow Nike ambassadors like LeBron James and Serena Williams, each of whom also make an appearance in the full-length commercial which debuted on live TV Thursday evening. But, of course, there were also the haters.
Many who have taken issue with Kapernick's decision to kneel during the national anthem in protest of police brutality against black Americans responded to Nike's new hire by doing the logical thing: That is, setting fire to the shoes that they already bought and paid for. That'll show 'em!
But perhaps more telling was the news that in the hours immediately following the release of the ad, Nike's stock dropped 2.1 percent — a more concrete impact, to be sure. And we were left wondering, could this new campaign actually have a tangible, negative impact on the American sports apparel company?
According to Matt Powell, a Senior Sports Industry Advisor for the NPD group, that'd be a no. "I do not see a material impact to Nike’s business over this ad," he tells InStyle via email. In fact, he says it'll have the opposite effect. "The ad strengthens Nike’s appeal to its target demographic," says Powell. "Those that are complaining the loudest are likely not Nike’s core consumer."
Add to that the fact that Nike's stock has recovered, and things are looking pretty good for the Oregon-based brand.
If you guessed that Donald Trump reacted to the campaign with a calm, cool, and collected statement in which he respectfully disagreed with the company's approach to advertising but acknowledged their right to free speech then HA! You're funny. The President instead wondered aloud on Twitter, "What was Nike thinking?"
Real talk though, what was Nike thinking? There have been more than a few think pieces on that. "Nike may just respect believing in something," writes Will Burns for Forbes. Others believe that the obvious interpretation — that the brand is throwing its weight behind Kaepernick's cause, which is the eradication of police brutality in America, in case you forgot — is the true message.
At the end of the day (well, the full week, really), we're still talking about Kaepernick. We're still talking about Nike. And I may not be a business major, but I'd call that pretty successful marketing.