Close this search box.


Nike Controversy: What Our Readers Thought

In our previous blog post, the Nike Controversy surrounding the Colin Kaepernick ad and product deal spurred a discussion among members of the board of directors. So much so, we invite our members to join. Here is what a few of them had to say on the matter.


Chris Q. said:
I think you might find that risk and reward based on customer data
creates opportunities.


Deborah S. said: 
I think most agree that regardless of the intentions; be they marketing oriented or based on social consciousness, throwing its support behind Kapaernick, Nike embarked on what has to be one of the greatest communications risks of all times taken by a company. The impact and the implications are multi-leveled. Many say that Nike is merely appealing to its ‘base’ much like Trump appealed to his based when he proposed that players who kneel should be fired.  Yet, by purchasing NIKE products showing the swoosh, supporters of Kaepernick are speaking with their dollars to express their disdain for police brutality in a way that has more impact than marching, attending a rally or protesting because it brings to bare their economic power. Without attending a single meeting or publishing an Op-ed or speaking verbally, these supporters showed that they were a force to be reckoned with when reports of a 31% increase in sales of NIKE products began to surface in the news. Further, purchasing a product that ostensibly represents a cause may be a more acceptable or discreet means of protest for many who silently supported Kaepernick and it may, therefore, have a more broad-based appeal. Still, time will give us a more definitive conclusion.


Tobias Anne S. said:
I find it disappointing that the real issue in this matter is not being brought to light. You see, it really doesn’t matter if this is a shameless publicity act on Nike’s part. It also doesn’t matter if they use Kaepernick or another controversial “face” for the campaign. Some people will like it, and some people won’t. Period. What really matters are the words of the slogan and the meaning behind them. “Believe in something. Even it means sacrificing everything.” With the anniversary of 9/11 just passed, shouldn’t we question the ethics of a statement that so clearly encourages fanaticism? Those who perpetrated the horrific acts of 9/11, DID believe in something – something horrific. And they were willing to sacrifice EVERYTHING – including thousands of innocent lives! Every suicide bomber, shooter, stabber, and killer (regardless of whose name they are doing the killing in) are clearly willing to sacrifice everything and everyone around them in the name of a “belief”. In Advertising, ethics matter greatly! I expect better from Nike and the strategists who thought this was a “good” idea.

What do you think? Is this a smart marketing strategy?

Please weigh in and join the debate.

For now, all we have are theories and opinions. We will follow up a year from now to see where Nike stands after all the dust has settled.


UPDATE: As promised a year later, Nike controversies revisited>>