In the Wake of Kaepernick Campaign, Nike Sees Excellent Growth

Though its Colin Kaepernick ads earlier in September proved controversial, shoe and fashion company Nike has still seen a 61-percent increase in the number of items sold out, according to a report from research firm Thomson Reuters. In conjunction with StyleSage Co., the research firm discovered that Nike sold out many more items between September 3rd and September 13th than it had in the 10 days prior to the release of the Kaepernick campaign. Additionally, Nike discounted fewer products in these 10 days and sold out of its Colin Kaepernick women’s jersey on September 17th.
“These statistics reinforce the notion that Nike is standing firm—and not just in a social context,” says Thomson Reuters Director of Consumer Research Jharonne Martis. “They don’t need to participate in the discounting that tends to plague other retail brands.”
Nike used the tagline “Believe in something, even if it costs you everything … Just Do It,” along with a picture of the former 49ers quarterback, to initiate its Kaepernick campaign. Kaepernick has been a Nike client since 2011, but his new multi-year contract makes him a headliner on the company’s “Just Do It” advertisements and gives him a branded line of shoes and apparel.
Nike’s decision to offer Kaepernick the deal took the world by surprise, since he is, in some sense, an unlikely choice. He has not thrown a single pass in the NFL in two seasons and is currently involved in an active lawsuit with the league, as he alleges that he was blacklisted as a free agent for his choice to kneel during the national anthem. His choice to do so was in protest of police violence during the 2016 season.
News of the Kaepernick campaign’s success coincides with the announcement of Nike’s 2019 Q1 fiscal results, which saw double-digit revenue growth. The Kaepernick ads are no doubt part of this growth, but Nike Chairman, President, and CEO Mark Parker also cites the company’s Consumer Direct Offense campaign as beneficial. This campaign fueled growth in the company’s wholesale business and across each of its demographics.
Parker says, “Nike’s Consumer Direct Offense, combined with our deep line up of innovation, is driving strong momentum and balanced growth across our entire business. Our expanded digital capabilities are accelerating our complete portfolio and creating value across all dimensions as we connect with and serve consumers.”
Andy Campion, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at Nike, adds, “We are delivering stronger global growth and profitability than we anticipated entering this fiscal year. While foreign exchange volatility has increased, our underlying currency-neutral momentum continues to build as we transform how Nike operates, drives growth, and creates value for our shareholders.”

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