Nike can be commended for having their fingers on the pulse of today’s trends by following what’s hot and in right now.
What’s more intriguing is that the apparel empire is taking risks by sponsoring world-renowned professional athletes who are involved in current and controversial social issues.
When Colin Kaepernick was blackballed from the NFL due to his activism on police brutality, Nike stepped in and offered him a campaign, released his own apparel and donated to his “Know Your Rights” charity.
While other companies and advertisers would typically shy away from controversy, Nike embraces it because there’s no such thing as bad publicity. Nike has stated that they support their athletes especially when they “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
But has their involvement with the martyred football star been entirely genuine for his cause, or is it more so for the profitable controversy that his name brings?
The apparel empire has never publicly said they sided with his protests or spoken out on police brutality. In fact, Kaepernick’s attachment to the brand has spawned them $43 million since the announcement of the campaign, according to Apex Marketing Group.
Additionally, the brand apparel has a deal with the NFL that is cemented until 2028, allowing them to freely capitalize off Kaepernick’s movement and making their assets safely guarded. Talk about impeccable timing.
Black pain and loss cannot be advertised without recognizing what is being trumpeted. In corporate America, the minority is considered property to be regularly re-sold to the masses as monetary trends.
The “Dream Crazier” ad narrated by tennis legend Serena Williams shines a spotlight on the gender-bias of female athletes in the sports world, but this is coming from a company that has been linked to numerous anti-sweatshop protests and the virulent mistreatment of women, according to the Huffington Post.
Nike jumped on the opportunity to monetize on these social issues for praise and profit rather than to actually rally for and make a change for social justice. So yes, Nike is winning in the profit-off-of-controversy game.