Despite the backlash after the company announced they were collaborating with former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick for a new “Just Do It” advertising campaign, Nike’s sales have spiked by 31 percent, according to data from a Silicon Valley digital commerce research company.
Market Watch reported that this sudden increase occurred over the three days from the Sunday of Labor Day weekend to Tuesday. The same period in 2017 yielded only a 17 percent increase.
Initial speculation was that the company would take a hit with their inclusion of Kaepernick, and at first the sales did dip slightly, only to quickly recover.
“There was speculation that the Nike/Kaepernick campaign would lead to a drop in sales, but our data over the last week does not support that theory,” said Hetal Pandya, co-founder of Edison Trends.
On Friday, Nike stocks were up by 1 percent, and the company “remains in the black for the month.” In total for 2018, Nike has gained 29 percent.
When Nike shared the news that they had asked Kaepernick to be part of their latest campaign, mentions of both Nike and the former quarterback rose significantly across social media. Between Sunday and Monday, mentions of Nike spiked by 1,678 percent, while Kaepernick’s name increased by a whopping 362,280 percent in mentions.
A number of prominent figures spoke out against Nike for their use of Kaepernick for the ads, including U.S. President Donald Trump, who tweeted a storm about it.
“Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. 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!”
Nike went forward with their collaboration despite the backlash they faced, airing its first television commercial on Thursday, which also included other high profile African-American athletes like Odell Beckham, Jr., LeBron James, and Serena Williams. The ad is narrated by Kaepernick.
While approval ratings for Nike went down by 38 percent between Sunday and Monday, sentiment toward Kaepernick actually soared by 40 percent during the week.
Oppenheimer analyst Brian Nagel has commended Nike for taking a major risk in their advertising campaign.
“The extensive roster of athletes and their powerful stories are core to the company’s stepped-up efforts in reaching a younger demographic,” Nagel said. “The Kaepernick campaign is clearly an effective way to make some noise in the industry, regardless of any political bent. Over time, for Nike, we think the power of the messaging from this new broader campaign is apt to overshadow any potential backlash, near term, in our view.”