To kick off the 30th anniversary of its iconic “Just Do It” campaign, Nike revealed former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the face of its new ad campaign.
This marketing move immediately raised controversy across the internet as people called to boycott Nike while others went to extreme lengths to destroy Nike apparel by burning shoes and cutting off the swoosh symbol off of socks.
Kaepernick revealed the new campaign Monday in a tweet featuring the famous Nike slogan along with the tagline “Believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything.”
The company first partnered with Kaepernick in 2011 and stood by him when he caused major controversy for kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to protest racism, police brutality, and social injustice.
Nike has a long history of using controversial topics as a forefront in marketing to show their support for a wide array of causes such as inclusion and diversity, which is why although this may be their most controversial campaign yet, it should come as no surprise.
“We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward,” Nike vice president of North America Gino Fisanotti said.
Although Nike shares have dropped 4% as of Tuesday morning following the call to boycott the brand, some marketers have agreed that the campaign has created noise and set Nike apart and given them an opportunity to show support to athletes.
According to CBS News, Brian Gordon, CEO of Engine Shop, a sports and entertainment marketing agency called the ad provocative but “authentic to who they are the communities they represent and speak to.”
“What you stand for is almost as important as what you make,” Brand Simple marketing consultant Allen Adamson said. “Nike is focused on what it stands for and if that upsets some users then so be it.”
Kaepernick is set to be featured in both TV and online ads as well as receiving his own line of apparel which will contribute to his charity, Know Your Rights.