Nike Gives a Social Media Master Class

September 6, 2018

Nike. recently found itself at the center of controversy. The company hired former NFL player Colin Kaepernick for it’s latest marketing campaign. Kaepernick, as you may recall, was the player who started the “take a knee” movement during the National Anthem at NFL games. To say his hiring was divisive would be an understatement.

Where Kaepernick is concerned, people seem to fall within three camps…

  • How dare he disrespect (the anthem, the flag, America, etc…).
  • I respect his message, but not his method.
  • He’s exercising his freedom of expression.

His message, for those not paying full attention, was in protest of social injustice. I’m not going to defend or vilify his actions here. Make up your own mind. This is about his new employer, Nike.

When the campaign started, Nike stock took an immediate hit falling 3.2 percent. The stock is still down a bit, but seems to be rebounding.

Nike has also taken a beating on social media. From jokes, some funny and some vulgar, to being glad that their Facebook profanity filter is set to high.

Some (presumably former) customers of the company have taken to burning or otherwise destroying their Nike gear in protest. Apparently they’ve lost the desire to own premium priced shirts and running shoes.

Nike turned what could have been a massive negative for the company into a brilliant social media campaign. Their initial response was a suggestion to turn over unwanted items to help the homeless or veterans in need. Cleverly supporting the social injustice of which their new spokesperson speaks.

When the burnings continued, Nike once again jumped in with safety tips on how to burn your Nike gear.

Question their methods if you will, but Nike has played this just right. They have stood behind their decision to hire Kaepernick. They have found ways to make people look foolish without calling them fools. And, they’ve found a way to support both their stance and that of said fools with a single brush stroke. Swoosh!

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