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Nike was a winner at the 2019 Creative Arts Emmy Awards on Sunday. The athletic brand’s “Dream Crazy” commercial, which starred Colin Kaepernick and featured other athletes like Serena Williams, Shaquem Griffin, and LeBron James, took home the award for outstanding commercial.
The ad, which was released a year ago, was instantly polarizing.
The involvement of Kaepernick, the effectively excommunicated NFL quarterback who earned both admiration and ire when he knelt during the national anthem to protest criminal injustice and inequality, meant that people either loved the commercial or they hated it.
Those who loved it tweeted messages of support and followed Nike’s Instagram account in droves. Those who hated it (due to the presence of Kaepernick) threatened to never buy Nike again and some even burned their sneakers. Several conservative colleges considered ending their relationship with Nike over the ad, and the mayor of a Louisiana town tried to ban the sale of Nike products at public facilities.
Regardless of how people responded, the bottom line is that people responded. Nike’s stock price surged and the commercial was a national topic for weeks. It resonated with Millennials and Generation Z, and led to a spike in sales. In other words, it did what a good commercial is supposed to do.
Apple, Netflix, and the anti-gun violence non-profit Sandy Hook Promise were also nominated in the outstanding commercial category, but went home empty-handed.
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