While the lucky ones who participated in Labor Day across the country ended up in terminals, in traffic or on docks, Nike quietly abandoned one of its biggest commercials of the day. # 39; year.
His commercial starring Colin Kaepernick, the quarterback of the NFL and 49er of San Francisco. This campaign is part of an important campaign to mark the 30th anniversary of Nike's "Just Do It" slogan. The campaign also features commercials featuring Odell Beckham Jr., Serena Williams, LeBron James and other innovative athletes.
"Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything" is as good as that for brand slogans, and this can only come from a more appropriate and relevant athlete, "noted Chris Allieri, director at New York. communication and marketing consultancy based in Mulberry & Astor. "Their intention is to be timely and likely to do the right thing. Sometimes this outweighs the potential impact of the brand. "
The timing of the announcement, of course, is somewhat poignant, as Kaepernick is currently suing the NFL for allegedly getting out of the league and systematically preventing him from signing up with a new team. Kaepernick argues that this decision is a punishment for the protests on the ground against police brutality, which he began in 2016. The announcement of Nike makes a direct nod to the legal battle of Kaepernick with the words "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything. "Printed on the black and white photo of the athlete. Kaepernick's lawsuit against the NFL argues that, if he engaged in a protest-driven protest, his career in football was interrupted.
These police brutality protests began at the start of the 2016 season, when Kaepernick sat – rather than standing, as is traditionally done – when the Star-Spangled banner was played before a preparatory game. After the match, Kaepernick explained his decision, saying, "I'm not going to stand up to show pride to a country that oppresses blacks and people of color. For me, it's bigger than football and it would be selfish for me to look on the other side. Later in this season 's games, he knelt while the national anthem was played. As the season progressed, other players began to join him. Even in 2017, when Kaepernick became a free agent, more and more players began to play the national anthem, which caused controversy in the NFL, top leaders at the sprawling national base.
Just as Kaepernick's protests sparked a mixture of attention, praise, and backtracking, Nike's advertising received the same thing. On social networks, some users shared videos of themselves burning Nike shoes or cut the Nike logo of their socks in response.
But any feedback is probably worth it. Allen Adamson, co-founder of marketing consulting firm Metaforce, said that in today's world, a brand must take a stand – even if it means alienating some of its customers – to not only remain relevant but also attract the attention of consumers. "Brands that try to please everyone are becoming invisible in today's marketplace," he said. The backlash, he said, is inevitable, no matter what you do. "No matter what you represent, you will ruffle feathers and disturb users. Some consumers will disappear, but others will become even more passionate. It is better to have passionate people in one way or another than people who ignore you. "
Brian Salzman, founder and CEO of the RQ relationship marketing agency, agrees. He said that advertising had made a moment for Nike, calling it "an epic example of creative cultural brands." He added that "like people, brands must have a purpose and a soul," Nike continues. This awareness often leads people to recognize the brands they already love and can also introduce them to new brands.
"People are looking for brands that are not just product suppliers – they want to know what the brands mean," said David Srere, Co-CEO and Strategy Director for Siegel Gale.
And making sure that soul really shines is the key to making such publicity, according to Adweek Advisory Board and editor of Allure Michelle Lee. "We've all seen big companies trying to hang on to movements in a bogus way but that sounds totally authentic to Nike," she said. "They are a huge global voice in the sport, and a statement from them has the power to influence culture at a time when so many are trying to play both sides."
Nike is also a brand with a solid base and a loyal customer base – and large – which makes it easier for critics. As Salzman said, "Nike has a brand objective that echoes time and political issues, and this communication will live light years beyond this period."
This advertising does not mark the first time that Nike has pushed the limits of its marketing. In the 90s, Michael Jordan was the face of the brand at a time when few black men were doing it in the sports world. The brand's past and internal resources also mean that Nike is well prepared to take into account any negative feedback.
"Nike knows exactly what they are doing," said Allieri. "Any flashback should not and will not be a surprise."
It's a good thing that Nike has the ability to prepare, as the company was facing a problem with the publication of the ad. Kaepernick has been sponsored by Nike since 2011 (five years before he was kneeling in the national anthem), and although he has previously participated in Nike ads, he was not used in marketing for a few years. According to Yahoo! Sports, Adidas and Puma have both begun internal talks on the possibility of signing Kaepernick if Nike had not renewed its approval agreement.
With regard to renewal, and subsequently, this particular campaign is probably not only a safe bet for Nike in the short term, but also in the long run. "Brands engaged in public speaking are not only good for the brand, but good for business," said Yadira Harrison, co-founder of marketing consulting firm Verb.
In addition, "it takes a long time for an advertisement to generate enough social media conversations," noted Marisa Thalberg, board member of Taco Bell and Adweek Advisory Board. "Presenting Kaepernick was certainly a calculated risk for Nike. The lens that I ask him is: is it a risk that corresponds to the equity and the voice of the brand? My point of view is that it is really worth it, and in that sense, [is]. It did not seem opportunistic; it was like a bold expression of their DNA. "
Predictions of the long-term impact of the brand campaign are also reminiscent of the old adage: "The bad press does not exist (proven by the fact that Nike's social media mentions have increased by 135% after the first advertisement). , according to the social media company Talkwalkwer ). Even if some fans go away, in the end, the announcement puts the name of Nike at the center of the conversation – and clearly, Nike is confident that the ad stands up to the news. test of time.
"[Nike has] has long challenged conventions to push athletes and culture further," said Luke Bonner, owner of sports consultancy firm Power Forward Sports. "In the end, they know that in the long run they will have a place on the bright side of history by being an ally of Kaepernick, who will be one of the most influential athletes of this generation."