Just Do It

PC: pbs.org

PC: pbs.org

You Heard It Here Last


This article won’t come out until what I have to talk about is old news, as per usual, but today Nike released their 30 year anniversary advertising campaign.

Spearheading this campaign as their feature athlete is Colin Kaepernick. This morning, he tweeted out a promotional photo with the caption “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

Kaepernick - who hasn’t played a down in the NFL since 2016 - has been the center of controversy, after his protests during the national anthem that same year cost him his NFL career. Nike’s decision to center this campaign around him is certainly bold. By choosing Kaepernick as the face of their current campaign, Nike is already facing significant backlash from several different parties with the potential for more.

For starters, Nike’s customer base is diverse and anyone who opposed Kaepernick in the anthem protests will likely take their business elsewhere, hurting Nike’s bottom line significantly. Second, President Donald Trump has openly spoken out against Kaepernick and the protestors that followed his lead. While Trump won’t act politically against the company, he will likely voice his distaste of their new campaign, and his influence will spread from purchase of their goods to the value of their stock and therefore their company.

Finally, Nike is the official jersey supplier of The NFL. If it’s true that The NFL collaborated to keep Kaepernick off of anyone’s roster and they’ll go to any length to disassociate him from the NFL brand, then it’s entirely possible that Nike’s uniform contract will come under fire. Nike’s ad may seem focused on Kaepernick, but they’re sending a message that they too believe in something. They believe in Kaepernick, his message, and the methods he’s used to get it across. And they’re saying that they’re willing to sacrifice everything just like he has.

I admire that. It’s not often that a company will lay its reputation, let alone its profitability on the line to stand up for something they believe in. And while I’m of the opinion that the national anthem is something to be respected, I must admit his protests did get tremendous exposure and I’d be willing to bet this campaign will too.

Tyler Dean is a senior studying finance and math.