Nike is winning with its Colin Kaepernick campaign

Peter Dewey

Nike announced the start of its new campaign featuring former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick this past week, drumming up the conversation on whether or not companies should take a stand on social or political issues.

Kaepernick spent six seasons with the 49ers, taking them to a Super Bowl in 2013, but has not played since opting out of his contract to become a free agent after the 2016 season.

During the 2016 season, Kaepernick took a stand against police brutality and racial injustice by kneeling during the national anthem. This peaceful protest was taken up by many players across the NFL, but also brought great controversy to the league.

President Trump has already showed his displeasure with players kneeling for the anthem, one time referring to Kaepernick as a “son of a bitch,” according to the Guardian.

Nike’s campaign with Kaepernick features the slogan, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

[media-credit name=”@VOXILLTECH/FLICKR CREATIVE COMMONS” align=”alignright” width=”300″][/media-credit]The message sent shockwaves across social media as people began burning Nike clothing and apparel and the hashtag #NikeBoycott began trending on Twitter.

As soon as this happened, Nike had already won.

People who were angry and burning apparel were just destroying products they had already paid for.

Nike even released a statement to educate people on “how to burn our products properly.”

You see, Nike gained huge amounts of free advertising from the people who were against the campaign as well as those who supported it.

Nike knew what was coming. They have teams of marketing professionals who clearly analyzed their target publics and decided that this was the time to debut the Kaepernick inspired advertisements and apparel.

“You burning your Nike gear costs Nike nothing, & gives them free advertising,” NFL reporter Benjamin Allbright tweeted. “They are going to sell more to others because of the campaign. You think a multi-billion-dollar company didn’t study the cost/benefit fallout before launching the campaign?”

Nike’s “Believe in something” campaign aligns perfectly with what the majority of consumers want.

They want companies to take a stand.

Two-thirds of consumers in a Sprout Social study said that it was either “very important” or “somewhat important” that brands take a stand on social and/or political issues, according to AdWeek.

Only 11 percent of those surveyed said that it was “not important” to them if companies took a stand on such issues.

“The key for brands is authenticity – and communication,” according to Sustainable Brands.

A survey by the Shelton Group produced very similar results to the one done by Sprout Social as it showed that, “64 percent of those who said it’s “extremely important” for a company to take a stand on a social issue said they were “very likely” to purchase a product based on that commitment,” according to Sustainable Brands.

Nike gambled that a large amount of their target public shared the same view as Kaepernick.

That gamble paid off.

A report from Edison Trends showed that the company’s online sales went up 31 percent from Sunday to Tuesday, which was 17 percent higher than the same period last year, according to Fox News.

Still, the President felt the need to tweet this:

“Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts,” Trump tweeted. “I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way? As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!”

Unfortunately for the President, who seems to have a personal vendetta for Kaepernick, this simply isn’t the case.

Nike had this coming all along.

Kaepernick signed with the athletic brand in 2011 and Nike continued to pay him despite the fact that he was no longer actively playing in the NFL.

Similar to AirBnB, who ran a “We Accept” ad during the Super Bowl after President Trump signed an order to temporarily close America’s borders, Nike picked a social issue that they felt strongly about and let consumers know.

It’s no secret that Nike has been trending towards this.

The company had released a line of shirts with the word “Equality” printed across the chest.

The Kaepernick campaign is taking it to the next level.

Yahoo’s senior NFL reporter Charles Robinson tweeted that the advertisements are just the beginning of a bigger contract commitment involving Kaepernick.

“I’ve been told by multiple sources there is absolutely a contract commitment by @Nike for a signature shoe and ‘Kaepernick 7’ line of apparel,” Robinson tweeted.

Personally, I support Nike and this campaign.

It is refreshing to see companies come out and support causes that they believe in.

It gives meaning to the purchasing of their products.

For those who believe that Nike is disrespecting the military by supporting Kaepernick, I offer you this.

Colin Kaepernick’s protest was never about the troops. In fact, it is well documented that he reached out to veterans on the most respectful way to protest the anthem, which is how he came to the decision to kneel.

Whether you want to believe that or not is your prerogative.

What I do know is Colin Kaepernick engaged in a peaceful form of protest because he felt that there was racial injustice in our society.

He believed that there was a problem with the amounts of police brutality toward minorities. And he peacefully tried to raise awareness for his cause.

Nike’s support for him is a positive for our society.

A billion-dollar corporation is behind a man who was simply trying to make the world a better place for others.

It was never about the troops, the flag itself or the anthem.

It was about making his stance known. The anthem was just the method of protest, nothing more.

And by the way, Nike offers a 10 percent discount for all military personnel, veterans and their families.

Colin Kaepernick believed in something and Nike took notice.

And now they are reaping the benefits with the support from the consumers who felt the same.