How Nike Made A Bold Decision In Advertising

Posted on September 14, 2018

How Nike made a bold decision in advertising

On September 4, 2018, Nike took a huge risk by using former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick in their 30th “Just Do It” anniversary campaign. For those of you that don’t know, Kaepernick is the former 49ers quarterback who knelt on the field during the national anthem in protest of police violence. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media. The anniversary campaign also featured other athletes like Serena Williams, LeBron James, Odell Beckham Jr., Lacey Baker, and Shaquem Griffin. Is this the type of controversy that sets them apart from their competitors? Should other brands make bold decisions like Nike did?

Using Controversy to Gain Attention

To reach a specific audience, you must get their immediate attention. What issues are they facing and how can you support them? It was brave of Nike to stand up for political issues. Brands can use political issues to be an influence. Nike’s target consumer is younger and more liberal on social issues than the average voter. Which means being liberal is good for business.

When this ad launched, the whole world had an opinion about Nike. Many people made threats and boycotted the brand, some going as far as burning their products, but that didn’t stop Nike from taking a stand. There were more consumers supporting them than expected. This is one of many bold ads over the last 30 years. Are you willing to sacrifice everything for what you believe in?

Making a Huge Impact

Many expected Nike’s sales to decrease, due to immediate backlash. However, this debate caused a 31% increase in sales over a three-day period, according to Edison Trends. Sales for this period were 17% more than they were during the corresponding period in 2017. The campaign has become the trending topic in the media. Nike has been mentioned 2 million times and counting on social media. Nike’s seen other indicators of financial growth since, though the company’s stock dipped a bit in the days after the ad was released, it’s already bounced back, growing 2.67%, according to Bloomberg. Nike has made the right move because they have done their research and know that this campaign resonates with their target audience. Their continued success and increase in sales prove this point.

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