After Nike received harsh criticism over its decision to feature former NFL quarterback and national anthem protester Colin Kaepernick in its ad campaign, the left are gloating Nike’s apparent bounce back.
A closer look at the numbers, however, shows Nike has suffered significant brand damage since featuring Kaepernick.
Earlier this month, Nike decided to feature Kaepernick in a recent advertisement campaign. The former NFL player is most strongly associated with the practice of protesting the national anthem, but is also known for being avidly anti-cop.
The campaign initially hit Nike’s stocks hard.
However, Nike has managed to increase their sales despite the controversy — for now.
Nike’s online sales grew 31 percent from the Sunday of Labor Day weekend through Tuesday, according to Market Watch.
This prompted celebration from people on the left, including LA Lakers player LeBron James.
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 14, 2018
Of course, James is not exactly unbiased when it comes to Nike. He likely would have found a reason to celebrate Nike either way since they are paying his bills. The sponsorship deal Nike made with James in late 2015 could easily make James $1 billion according to Business Insider.
However, this celebration may be premature as additional numbers tell a different story for Nike.
Financial advisers with Stone Fox Capital pointed out that while Nike’s stock is performing well now, they risk long-term brand damage because of their Kaepernick ad, according to BPR.
Hidden in the Edison Trends report about Nike’s sales “was a small nugget from 4C Insights that the sentiment towards the brand dropped 38% in the initial couple of days following the ad,” Stone Fox Capital wrote for Seeking Alpha.
The data suggests that those who were favorable towards Kaepernick rushed out to buy Nike gear over the holiday weekend, but the long-term brand damage does not bode well for Nike.
The firm also cited a recent Morning Consultant poll that found only 33 percent of adults view Kaepernick favorably.
Interestingly enough, the amount of adults who have an unfavorable view of Kaepernick (38 percent) matches the sentiment dips toward the Nike brand.
The firm suggested that a better route for Nike would be for them to follow the path of retired NBA star Michael Jordan’s “Air Jordan” brand.
“No matter whether Michael Jordan ever uttered the phrase ‘Republicans buy sneakers too’, him staying out of politics is a big part of why the Jordan brand remains highly successful today and focused on his athletic accomplishments and not distracted by political issues,” Stone Fox Capital said.
It makes sense that political involvement would not be good for a business seeking a broad consumer base.
Nike’s association with Kaepernick has caused them significant brand damage — something that will certainly lose them potential customers in the long run, despite the small increase in sales over Labor Day.
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