Brand Activism: Nike and Colin Kaepernick
Nike's selection of politically polarizing Colin Kaepernick as the spokesperson for the thirtieth anniversary of its iconic "Just Do It" campaign catapulted the brand into the media spotlight and made it a political flashpoint for consumers across America. Would the choice of Kaepernick positively or negatively affect Nike's business results or just generate a lot of social media chatter? As Nike's management team watched some people burn their sneakers in protest on YouTube and others applaud the company's behavior on Facebook, they wondered whether inserting Nike into the middle of a heated political debate was the right thing to do or the most reckless action Nike's brand stewards had ever taken, putting Nike's $30 billion brand asset at risk? After all, on social media, it was easy to say that one would boycott or buycott a brand due to one's political beliefs, but in the marketplace, other purchase criteria often reigned supreme.