Nike tapped Colin Kaepernick to be the face of their new “Just Do It” campaign. A brand that has been the standard bearer at the top of the fitness game for decades turned to the single most controversial sports figure they could choose.
Why? Nike understands the incredible power of Instant Perception.
They used a heated situation to appeal to their brand advocates and enrage their adversaries, recognizing an opportunity to secure Nike’s brand relevance for an entire generation of customers.
The result didn’t look great at first: Nike lost $3.75 billion in market cap in the wake of their Kaepernick decision.
So was it a mistake? Not so fast…
Nike chose a path of risk and relevance. In the short term, investors fled. But it’s already become clear that Nike is reaping huge rewards through increased sales. Since the launch of their new ad featuring Kaepernick, Nike sales have jumped 31%.
- Democrats are 14% more likely than the average American to buy Nike shoes, while Republicans are 12% less likely.
- African Americans are 56% more likely to buy Nike shoes, whites 14% less likely.
- Americans aged 18-34 are 37% more likely to buy Nike shoes.
This campaign is a case study in how brands are evolving their thinking. There are battles for perception to be fought and won every day among demographics who support brands.It’s far too early to label this a success, particularly when they’ve simultaneously made adversaries of the NFL and the President of the United States. But it shows the evolving nature of reaching out to brand loyalists and adversaries across an increasingly fractured and diverse market.
A broad marketing strategy aimed at being inoffensive, and embraced by everyone, is a relic of the past. A more micro-targeted approach is required.