Nike has announced on 9/3/18 their controversial decision to have Colin Kaepernick, former quarterback of the San Fransisco 49ers, act as the face of their 30th “Just Do It” branding campaign and that sparked a barrage of reactions and calls to boycott the company’s products.
The social media platforms as well as news outlets, showed people expressing disapproval from Nike’s selection and vowing never to by the brand’s gear while others are burning Nike’s clothes and shoes they own or cutting off the famous “swoosh” logo.
As a result of the strong reaction to the branding selection, Nike’s stock has lost 3% of its value, and some conclude it was a bad move – like actor James Woods that called it “brand suicide.”
But not all agree with that statement. Serena Williams tweeted her support to Kaepernick shortly after the new ad was released: “Especially proud to be a part of the Nike family today. #justdoit,” and LeBron James commented: “I stand with anyone who believes in change..and I stand with Nike every day, all day.”
On the same lines, marketing and brand expert, Barak Granot, wrote an article, published on Business Innovators Magazine, titled “Nike – Kaepernick: A Brilliant Move or a Branding Disaster?” in which he dissects the repercussions of the controversial decision from a marketing and branding standpoint.
“Nike took a significant risk,” says Granot, “they will lose money. The stock will take a dive and sales can be slow. It will diminish the brand in the short term.” Granot explains his stand but then adds that in the longer term, the move will prove as beneficial to Nike for several reasons.
“Nike knew that almost unanimously, celebrities will go all-in in supporting that move,” explains Granot and adds, “in the long run, the weight of celebrities endorsing Nike’s brand will outweigh the outrage that has no ‘face.’ The boycott movement will die off eventually because there is no one to lead it and to be the “celeb face” of it. Without celebrity endorsement, there will be less (if any) media coverage in the long run, and the cause will be forgotten.”
In the meanwhile, people rejecting Nike’s selection are slamming the company on social media and time will tell whether Nike chose right in getting involved in this charged debate or if those celebrities and experts were correct on their predictions.