INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – Nike’s decision to feature former San Francisco 49ers Quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the face of its latest ad is facing growing backlash.
The partnership between Kaepernick and Nike centers around the company’s 30th anniversary of the “Just Do It” campaign. Kaepernick himself unveiled the partnership Monday on twitter with a caption that read “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” The news of the campaign resulted in people calling a boycott of the company and staging public displays which included setting fire to their sneakers and sportswear and cutting the logos off their apparel.
Dan McQuiston, an associate professor of marketing at Butler University says the move, and the ensuing backlash, is part of a well calculated risk by the apparel company.
“There are people who are saying they’re going to burn their Nike things but on the other hand, they’re probably going to be some people who say this is a very supportive move by Nike, and I support the move, and may consider buying some Nike apparel,” McQuistion said.
By choosing Kaepernick as the face of their ad, McQuisition says Nike may be trying to lure in more millennials, a group which polls show support Kaepernick’s anthem protests more than the rest of the country.
“It’s going to be very interesting to see how this plays out in the long run,” he said.
Hoosiers also seemed to be split on the new campaign.
“This guy is a hero for what he’s done. He’s started a very important movement,” one man said.
“Anybody that doesn’t stand for the national anthem I don’t think is worthy of anything,” said another.
The move also appeared to have a swift impact on Nike stock. Shares of Nike had fallen nearly 3 percent in midday trading Tuesday. However, even with the drop, Nike stock is still up nearly 30 percent in 2018.