When Nike made Colin Kaepernick the face of their 30th anniversary “Just Do It” ad campaign, it was known that there would be controversy. It was a given that there would be backlash on social media and people calling for boycotts of their products. It was even a known possibility that stock prices may dip for a day or two before rebounding. In the face of all of that, Nike went forward anyway, knowing that despite any negatives, there are positives that could come from it as well.
Matt Powell of the NPD Group, which is a sports marketing research firm, believes Nike knew exactly what they were doing in choosing Kaepernick and that it is a strategy that will pay off for them. Jessica Ramirez, a retail analyst with Jane Hali & Associates, agrees with him. She believes that the boycott will fail to harm Nike in any way, because just like the boycotts of Adidas, Dick’s Sporting Goods, and Under Armour, the anger is fleeting, and people tend to return to their old spending habits, as reported by Reuters.
Nike is marketing to their customer of the next thirty years, not the last thirty years.— Downtown Josh Brown (@ReformedBroker) September 4, 2018
The new customer base will be highly educated and able to draw a distinction between protesting the American flag vs protesting institutionalized racial violence.
Powell was quite blunt in his assessment of the Nike boycotts when providing what he feels is part of why Nike doesn’t care about this largely Republican-type voter boycott.
“The alt-right calls for a Nike boycott will fail just like the boycott of Dick’s Sporting Goods failed. Old angry white guys are not a core demographic for Nike.”
Yahoo Finance reported that shares of Nike fell about 3 percent when the market opened, but since then they have slowly reclaimed some of that. Bob Dorfman, a sports marketing expert with Baker Street Advertising, told Yahoo he feels much the same way as other marketing analysts do, in that, Nike made a bold move and they will be rewarded for it.
“Yes, it will alienate consumers—just look at the Twitter reaction already. But the attention it will gain, the publicity, the media discourse, the incredible reaction will far outweigh any loss of business that might result. For every swoosh that’s lost, one or more will be gained.”
Not everyone totally agrees with that, as GlobalData Retail analyst Neil Saunders believes Nike might lose some customers in middle America, as reported by Reuters, but it will likely increase on the West Coast. Whether the two balance each other out will be seen over the next few months. Many analysts have pointed out that Nike is marketing for young, future customers far more than they are people who may have been the target of “Just Do It” 30 years ago.
Neither the NFL, Kaepernick, nor Nike have issued any comments regarding the campaign, according to Yahoo. It is thought to be likely that Kaepernick has nothing to add, Nike is letting the ad speak for them, and the NFL, pleased or not, can’t say much as they recently inked a 10-year sponsorship deal with Nike, in which Nike is fully protected.