It appears Nike is doing just fine in the wake of one of the most predictably divisive marketing campaigns in recent memory.
Ten days after Nike announced that Colin Kaepernick would be the face of its “Just Do It” 30th anniversary ad campaign, the sports apparel behemoth’s stock price closed at an all-time high on Thursday at $83.47, according to a report from Bloomberg.
Nike had previously faced a noticeable dip in its stock price in the immediate aftermath of its Kaepernick announcement, dropping nearly 3 percent in the next day of trading at the New York Stock Exchange. That fall has since been made up and more, with the current price slightly besting the company’s previous high of $83.00 from Wednesday and an earlier peak of $82.95 on Aug. 21, 2018.
LeBron James, who signed a lifetime contract with Nike a few years ago, happily greeted the news.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 14, 2018
Nike’s Colin Kaepernick ‘Just do it’ campaign
The campaign in question made its first video appearance when Kaepernick tweeted out a two-minute video featuring himself narrating stories of athletes who have beaten the odds, ending with the words “It’s only crazy until you do it,” then changing to “Just do it.”
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 5, 2018
The ad made its television debut on Sep. 5 during the NFL’s Thursday night opener and immediately faced both very loud applause and a very loud backlash.
How Nike and Kaepernick’s big move has been received
Nike likely knew what it was getting into with its decision to feature what is probably the most politically divisive athlete in the world today as one of the faces of the company, and the result hasn’t disappointed.
Boycotts were planned, people burned their Nike gear even though Nike already had their money and one mayor of a Louisiana town even tried to ban the gear from being sold at public facilties before pulling back.
And of course, President Donald Trump had plenty to say about a topic he has been obsessed with, tweeting that Nike was getting “absolutely killed with anger and boycotts” and asking what the company was thinking with their divisive decision.
Well, the answer seems to be that Nike was thinking the spike in sales and brand awareness would be worth the backlash, and so far it seems they are being proven right.
Public opinion of Nike heavily changed after the ad campaign according to one poll of Americans. While there was a noticeable increase in people viewing the company negatively, the CEO of the polling firm concluded that the move “seems to have worked,” thanks to an increase in appeal to young males that are more likely to buy Nike apparel.
Nike sales up 20 percent compared to last year
Per Bloomberg, Nike sales measured by Edison have revealed some very strong tracking numbers:
Edison scanned receipts from more than 200 online retailers (including Nike.com) and found that that Tuesday after Labor Day, for example, the first full day after Kaepernick’s ad went viral, Nike purchases were 22 percent higher than the same day in 2017. On Wednesday they were 42 percent higher, and Thursday they were 23 percent higher. They remained above 2017 levels through the end of the week.
Of course, as Bloomberg notes, it will likely take much longer than 10 days to full assess the impact of Nike’s decision to feature Kaepernick. It’s also probable that Nike’s recent stock price fluctuations are not 100 percent attributable to a single ad campaign. Even if its increase in sales isn’t sustainable, Nike likely isn’t regretting its decision so far.
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