Nike’s new ad campaign features Colin Kaepernick, and people are mad about it.
The American football quarterback is well-known for his stance against racial inequality, and has protested several brutal child murders by kneeling calmly. This doesn’t sit well with American conservatives, who associate kneeling during the national anthem with an anti-military sentiment that attacks their family values.
In response to Kaepernick’s selection as the face of Nike’s new campaign, a rash of Twitter users hashtagged #justburnit and posted images of themselves burning Nike products.
The protest slogan is a parody of Nike’s “Just Do It,” and to the movement’s credit, many are doing as the ad says and are sacrificing all their Nike products for what they believe in.
According to social media analysis site Spredfast, there were more than 800 tweets using the hashtag #JustBurnIt in a matter of hours on Tuesday morning.
#BoycottNike is another trending hashtag, and has notable users like Andrew H Scott, the mayor of Kentucky city Coal Run. Scott stated he was “officially done” with Nike and the NFL. Country Singer John Rich tweeted a photo of Nike socks with the brand’s logo removed.
Many others across the U.S. are damaging the Nike brand by literally damaging their products. Those who aren’t burning their garments are cutting out the Nike swoosh logo.
Kaepernick has been on Nike’s endorsement roster since 2011, but hasn’t been in a Nike ad for two years – perhaps because the brand was afraid of this kind of backlash. Experts don’t think the campaign will negatively affect Nike in the long run.
Nike’s stock has run up 27.3 percent this year, and over the past 12 months it’s climbed 49 percent. Although its stock took an initial hit on the Tuesday of the ad campaign’s release, Oppenheimer analyst Brian Nagel believes the short-term fall won’t affect the brand. “We think the power of the messaging is apt to overshadow any potential backlash, near term.”
Past political statements by brands have resulted in increased sales, as those who agree with the sentiment are more likely to buy; and those who disagree with the brand’s stance will provide free PR by posting images of the boycotted items.
Instead of damaging the products, some have suggested that protestors donate unwanted Nike items. Shoes and socks are always in huge demand from people in need, including vets and families of those in the military.