Kaepernick controversy drives Nike sales

10 Sep 2018

By: Sport Industry Group

Nike’s online sales have soared by 31% following the release of its latest, divisive ‘Just do it’ spot, according to expert analysts.

It follows reports of widespread protests, including burning of Nike gear, objecting to the inclusion of former NFL star and civil rights activist Colin Kaepernick in the ad.

News of the NFL free agent’s involvement led to an initial 2% drop in Nike’s New York share price, as US president Donald Trump weighed in on the brand’s decision.

But research company Edison Trends has revealed that the sportswear giant’s sales surged over the US Labor Day weekend compared to the same period last year.

Kaepernick provoked controversy last year when he became the first athlete to kneel during the American national anthem in protest at police shootings of African-American men and broader racial injustice in the United States.

Nike’s campaign – part of 30-year celebrations for the ‘Just do it’ tagline - pays homage to the former San Francisco 49ers star and his controversial “exile” from the NFL, featuring the line “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

The brand, the official clothing sponsor of the NFL, is targeting a specific 15-17 age demographic with the work.

Commenting on the release of the campaign, Gino Fisanotti, Nike’s vice-president of brand, said: “We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward. 

“We wanted to energise its meaning and introduce ‘Just Do It’ to a new generation of athletes.”

Nike has a long track record of taking bold and provocative stances. The brand is no stranger to controversial athletes, having stuck by Tiger Woods, Maria Sharapova and Lance Armstrong over the years.