Nike is no stranger when it comes to controversy. They have been in the news time and time again about high profiled athletes being on the receiving end of controversy that has damaged the reputation of the brand and the athletes. In some extreme cases it has ruined the career for these athletes. A few of the most memorable controversys feature Lance Armstrong after a doping scandal and Tiger Woods in the midest of a sex and drup scandal. The most recent controversy that has been in the news since 2016 is the former 49er quarterback Colin Caepernick.
Colin Caepernick, a civil rights activist, protested the country’s treatment of racial minorities as he refused to stand during the national anthem, deciding to take a knee instead. Colin Kaepernick stated “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color. To me this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.”
The protest by Colin Caepernick blew up like a ticking time bomb and just about everyone who could form words had an opinion on this. News outlets like ESPN, CNN and others were voicing their thoughts left and right. Some were feareated like Donald Trump who stated “Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out! He’s fired. He’s fired!’”He also states “I watched Colin Kaepernick, and I thought it was terrible, and then it got bigger and bigger and started mushrooming, and frankly the NFL should have suspended him for one game, and he would have never done it again.”
With millions of people watching closely and monitoring the situation Nike made a brilliant move on their part creating an Ad campaign commercial called “Dream Crazy.” It is narrated by the quarterback himself highlighting a host of other pro athletes who made it to the biggest stage amongst all odds with athletes like Lebron James and Serena Williams. The message illustrates how athletes have defied expectations to make seemingly insane dreams a reality. “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything,” was one of the quotes that stood out along with “Don’t ask if your dreams are crazy, ask if they are crazy enough” to finish off the commercial.
This ad was a major success, once turing a controversial topic into winning an Emmy for best commercial. Nike generated a whopping 6 billion dollars including 10’s of thousands of new followers on Instagram in the wake of the release. Nike’s online sales also soared jumping up a total of 31%.
Abad-Santos, Alex. “Nike’s Colin Kaepernick Ad Sparked a Boycott – and Earned $6 Billion for Nike.” Vox, Vox, 24 Sept. 2018, https://www.vox.com/2018/9/24/17895704/nike-colin-kaepernick-boycott-6-billion.
Haithman, Diane, et al. “Controversial Colin Kaepernick Nike ‘Dream Crazy’ Ad Wins Emmy For Best Commercial.” Deadline, 16 Sept. 2019, https://deadline.com/2019/09/nike-dream-crazy-best-commercial-emmy-1202735455/.
TheUndefeated. “Colin Kaepernick Protests Anthem over Treatment of Minorities.” The Undefeated, The Undefeated, 3 Sept. 2016, https://theundefeated.com/features/colin-kaepernick-protests-anthem-over-treatment-of-minorities/.
Kelner, Martha. “Nike’s Controversial Colin Kaepernick Ad Campaign Its Most Divisive Yet.” The Guardian, Guardian News and Media, 4 Sept. 2018, https://www.theguardian.com/sport/2018/sep/04/nike-controversial-colin-kaepernick-campaign-divisive.
Wilson, Ryan. “Donald Trump: NFL Should Have Suspended Colin Kaepernick for Kneeling.” CBSSports.com, 12 Oct. 2017, https://www.cbssports.com/nfl/news/donald-trump-nfl-should-have-suspended-colin-kaepernick-for-kneeling/.
Linnane, Ciara. “Nike’s Online Sales Jumped 31% after Company Unveiled Kaepernick Campaign, Data Show.” MarketWatch, 17 Sept. 2018, https://www.marketwatch.com/story/nikes-online-sales-jumped-31-after-company-unveiled-kaepernick-campaign-2018-09-07.