In a move that turned the world of sports marketing on its head, Nike announced its decision to collaborate with Colin Kaepernick in a new campaign. Kaepernick released a preview of the campaign featuring a black-and-white photo of the exiled football player and the line "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything."
The two-liner references Kapernick's protest two years ago, when he began kneeling during the National Anthem to protest the treatment of black lives in the U.S. In his own words, he explained the protest by saying he refused to stand for a country who would not do the same for him or others who looked like him. After receiving insane amounts of pushback from standing up against racial injustice, Kaepernick was released from the 49ers and now remains an unsigned free agent. He alleges that NFL teams came together to scheme against him from being signed (well, duh), but that's another issue for another day. (Trust us, this will come to light another day.)
Amongst angry football fans and team owners, who are definitely not racist but found an issue in protesting against the death of black bodies, Donald Trump was one of the critics of Kaepernick's stance for change, having a few choice words for Kaepernick, or more specifically, his mother. (see, son of a b*tch) So, it's no surprise that Trump had strong opinions on Nike's latest announcement, claiming that the message to believe in something important to you is "terrible" and Nike should be aware of "way down" ratings and getting "killed" by boycotts.
We can only imagine that the man in the Oval Office is referencing the recent slew of videos showing angry (mostly white) people burning their Nike gear in a defiant act of resistance. Because nothing will show a multi-million dollar company that you mean business more than ruining products that you paid for with your own money- that'll show them!
To be quite frank, the minimal protest against this latest campaign will not hurt Nike in the least. In fact, this move is quite possibly the best one the company has made in a while. Nike knows that their target audience, their main consumers, is largely composed of the black population. These are the social activists. The rappers. The athletes. The ones who probably stand - or kneel- with Kaepernick. Nike bets on their primary consumers being on the right side of history and I have a feeling this wager will definitely pay off. It's safe to say that the majority of black consumers are willing to support Kaepernick in any way necessary, especially if that means buying a new pair of sneakers or new Nike gear. Since the age of Michael Jordan, Nike has profited off of counting on the black dollar and appealing to the black community first and foremost. Black consumers have consistently been the first to rally behind the newest pair of sneakers, and Nike knows this. They were able to find a common ground between those that buy their products and those that support social issues that Kaerpernick stands for, and it just so happens that these groups of people tend to be one and the same.
Bottom line, the benefits of supporting someone as socially outspoken as Kaepernick by far outweigh the few idiots burning their clothes on the internet. Nike found a way to support an important cause and sell more product at the same time, which sounds like a win in my book. There are few things more impactful to this country's economy than the black dollar, and by putting trust in this force, Nike shouldn't be losing out on any coins anytime soon.