Seton Hall faculty and students shared their thoughts and opinions on the recent Nike advertisement that featured former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Nike first unveiled the advertisement on social media before it aired during the NFL season opener on Sept. 6. It was part of Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign for the company’s 30th anniversary. The ad says, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” and features a picture of Kaepernick behind it.
Kaepernick, who is a Nike-sponsored athlete, came to the forefront in 2016 when he kneeled during the playing of the National Anthem to protest racial injustice. Other players continued the protest while Kaepernick sat out during the 2017 season, unsigned by an NFL team.
The advertisement sparked backlash across social media, as #BoycottNike began to trend. Many people across the country started to burn their Nike products and post videos of it online in retaliation.
However, according to an analysis by Edison Trends, online sales have risen 31 percent since the advertisement’s release.
Jennifer Kajzer, the sales manager at 89.5 FM WSOU, said she thinks that the campaign was a stroke of genius. “I think that Nike is getting exactly what they expected, a ton of publicity,” Kajzer said. “It is said that ‘bad publicity is publicity.’ They are getting tons of controversy too, which in advertising can be a good thing.
Clearly, this will be a divided issue because it incorporates politics, but I think from a marketing standpoint, ‘Bravo!’”
Nike’s main target was people under 35 years old. This demographic accounts for two thirds of their customer base, according to Forbes.
For Faith Kessler, a sophomore communications major, the ad was more than about advertising a product.
“I thought it was brave of Nike to take a stand that was controversial and I think that it is paying off in their favor,” she said.
As a result of the campaign, Nike’s social media accounts have exploded in popularity. On their Instagram account alone, the company gained 170,000 followers in the span of a week, according to the NPD Group.
Jose Feliciano, a junior visual and sound media major, said he thinks that the ad is so progressive that it should have been released earlier.
“I think Nike was a year late releasing the campaign, (but) they certainly made a powerful statement by going with Kaepernick. Their slogan is “Just do it”, and he did it,” he said.
On Sept. 16, Nike’s stock rose and closed at $83.49. Its stock closed at an all-time high, suggesting its gamble was worth making.
Dalton Allison can be reached at email@example.com.