Behind the Kaepernick Nike campaign
Nike continues to dominate marketing in the sporting landscape by using trends to lift their brand.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has been chosen to front Nike’s 30th-anniversary advertising campaign of the ‘Just Do It’ slogan after he sparked controversy during the 2016 preseason when he began to kneel during the pre-game national anthem, in protest against police violence against African-Americans.
Kaepernick has been out of the league since opting out of his contract in March 2017 to become a free agent has filed a lawsuit against the National Football League (NFL) for team managers conspiring to ensure that the quarterback remains without employment, going against the terms of the league’s collective bargaining agreement (CBA), which forbids teams from colluding to deny a player a contract.
The American apparel giants newest marketing material uses the quarterbacks face with the slogan:‘Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.’ which has garnered more than a million tweets, keeping Nike as the top-trending subject on Twitter for more than seven hours.
The controversial campaign places enormous pressure on the league as Nike is the league-wide supplier of team uniforms.
Kaepernick first signed a deal with Nike in 2011 and it’s reported the sportswear company has kept the former 49ers player on its payroll throughout the controversy.
Many players have since followed Kaepernick’s lead in speaking out, but the protests have caused mass debate across the United States, with President Donald Trump calling for the activists to be sacked.
Gino Fisanotti, vice president of branding for North America at Nike, told ESPN: “We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who have leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward.”
He appears in the adverts alongside New York Giants star Odell Beckham Jr and Seattle Seahawks’ amputee linebacker Shaquem Griffin.