Fantasy Football: Nike’s Bet on Colin Kaepernick

I don’t need a preamble on who Colin Kaepernick is, or why the former NFL star is currently without a team because the headlines are laden (on both the left and the right) with the perceived reasons why. However, the brand junkie that lives within me cannot keep quiet about the admiration I have for whoever concocted Nike’s now infamous ad campaign featuring Kaepernick.

Writing impactful ad copy is Nike’s element. The slogan “Just Do It” has been a part of my life ever since I learned to read. It has gone on to be a catchphrase for the bold, the long-suffering, the defiant – all of which Colin Kaepernick is. How do you complement an already powerful statement? You just – do it.

“Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything” – the quote transcribed over Kaepernick’s image is as relevant to him as it is to Nike. The debate around the NFL and players’ right to protest was a conversation Nike could rightfully interject itself in. Its image is seen repeatedly throughout the game, on referees, fans and players. Declaring a position on such matters is a risk that many other companies have not taken, especially in the current political climate.

All in all, brands have a responsibility to show consumers what they stand for. It would be off-brand for Nike to have kept quiet, it would come across as weak and afraid. The backlash it faced after the launch of the campaign, which any sensible public relations department would have anticipated, played directly into the phrase they chose again – the sacrifice of everything. Now that stock is rebounding after an initial fall and sales are escalating, the sacrifice seems to be worth it. No matter what comes next, Nike made a great pick for their fantasy football league this season.

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