Suicide or Genius

In a world where social media has changed the face of advertising, brands are flying increasingly close to the wind in order to win over consumers, and Nike’s recent campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick shows, is the most recent high-profile example.

“Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” was the proactive tagline for the sports giants latest ‘Just Do It’ campaign and given the extreme sensitivity around the issue, it is little wonder that hysteria hit social media as the world voiced their opinions.

 

 

Kaepernick, a former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, made the headlines in 2016 when he knelt rather than stood during the US national anthem as a protest around racial injustice, specifically, the killing of black Americans by the Police.

While NFL team owners aren’t hiring the player despite his obvious talent, Nike made the decision to use the sportsman, in an ad that may have seen consumers divided but with sales having apparently risen* it is one that doesn’t seem to have dented their reputation.

There is little doubt that using political situations can be risky and as Pepsi and Kendall Jenner saw last year, sometimes even the best laid plans do backfire.

The reality star was filmed handing a can of Pepsi to a Police Officer during a protest as part of an advert in 2017, and with accusations of undermining the Black Lives Matter movement, the ad was axed within 24 hours. While Pepsi said their message was one of unity, peace and understanding they admitted they were way off the mark and it would seem when it came to gauging consumer allegiances, they really did get it wrong.

Richard Wilson, CEO of CLICKON MEDIA, said, Nike’s Kaepernick campaign is a bold statement and one that has generated visibility and emotion which we would imagine is one of its main aims. This advert clearly demonstrates shifts in social attitudes and shows how the world is changing but incorporating such cultural issues into advertising comes with risk. Nike clearly knew there would be huge debate over their campaign, but they are smart, they did their research and knew who it would resonate with and it would seem that this is a long-term game plan that they are winning.”

CLICKON’s Creative Director, Benjamin Potter, said, “The use of political and provocative issues in advertising is cynically viewed by some as a simple profit increasing exercise, but these strategies can also strengthen a brand’s relationship with their audience. We work with a range of clients to create content that connects them to consumers and while we don’t play it safe, we always assess the risks and decide if they are worth taking. We think that the Nike / Kaepernick discussion will rumble on for some time but are pretty sure it won’t be the last controversary given that the stakes for consumer loyalty is high and that is only set to continue.”

 

Notes to Editors

*Source: https://www.marketwatch.com/story/nikes-online-sales-jumped-31-after-company-unveiled-kaepernick-campaign-2018-09-07

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