In a period of just 24 hours following the announcement that former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the face of Nike's 30th anniversary 'Just Do It' campaign, the brand had received $43 million worth of media exposure.
That's not to say it was all positive. Nike stock fell Tuesday and Twitter lit up with angry detractors threatening to burn their sneakers and never buy the brand again.
Colin Kaepernick is one face of Nike's 30th anniversary 'Just Do It' campaign.
From a purely PR standpoint, though, Nike's decision to step into the fray was calculated and well thought out. As pointed out by financial commentator Josh Brown (CEO of Ritholtz Wealth Management), in this great piece by Sports Insight writer Bob McGee: "Nike is marketing to their customer of the next 30 years, not the last 30 years. That new customer base will be highly educated and be able to draw a distinction between protesting the American flag vs. protesting institutionalized racial violence.”
Kaepernick created controversy when, as a member of the San Francisco 49ers in 2016, he took a knee during the playing of the national anthem in order to protest racism and police brutality in the U.S. He's been a Nike client since 2011 and the footwear giant has supported him ever since.
It's obvious that the polarization between those who feel the player is disrespecting the flag with those who see it as an issue about social injustice will not go away anytime soon. But, this campaign sure has lit a fire. The winner in all this?
Nike. They Just Did It.