On Monday, September 3, Nike revealed that none other than former San Fransisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick would be the face of their upcoming “Just Do It” campaign — the 30th-anniversary campaign of their legendary slogan, no less.
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
Given that it involves Colin Kaepernick — one of the most controversial athletes of the last couple years — opinions about the campaign ranged far and wide.
Some athletes like LeBron have come forth to say how much they love the move:
While other athletes such as Chris Long (who is quite the activist himself) were a little more skeptical:
Nike is a huge business. They’ve calculated risk. They may even have reason to believe this will make the brand more popular which means the guy burning his white air monarchs is in the minority. Bitter pill to swallow, I’m sure. Good luck w the protest. Bet they anticipated it.
— instagram user (not this website) chris long (@JOEL9ONE) September 4, 2018
However, professional athletes aside, the best responses came from the people on Twitter who are destroying their Nikes (that they’ve already purchased):
First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country. I chose country. Then @Nike forces me to choose between my favorite shoes and my country. Since when did the American Flag and the National Anthem become offensive? pic.twitter.com/4CVQdTHUH4
— Sean Clancy (@sclancy79) September 3, 2018
— John Rich (@johnrich) September 3, 2018
— Drain Braun (@playazball) September 4, 2018
— Ole Buck 😁 🇺🇸 (@buckpolitics) September 4, 2018
And don’t forget about the flip side of that coin, the people mocking the #BoycottNike/#MAGA crowd by finding “creative” ways to “destroy” their Nikes, such as microwaving or drone-striking them:
— Small Posters' Local 420/69 (@alexwarneke) September 4, 2018
— Coach Trotter (@coachtrotter81) September 4, 2018
— jordan (@JordanUhl) September 4, 2018
— Kno (@Kno) September 4, 2018
— Minh (@Kolbe_Minh) September 4, 2018
I'm finally cutting out the Nike logos out of my Nike pillow case! pic.twitter.com/cP9Un6PVzH
— rafael shimunov (@rafaelshimunov) September 4, 2018
So what’s the takeaway from all this?
The takeaway is that Nike has won, yet again. Whether you agree with their decision to endorse Kaepernick or not, you (and the rest of the American media) have likely discussed it over the last 24 hours.
In Nike’s eyes, the number of potential customers they may lose as a result of this campaign is the minority and is well worth the amount of publicity they will be receiving through this ad.
As Chris Long touched upon, Nike is a business (and one of, if not the biggest shoe business in the world), so every step of this Kaepernick campaign has been carefully considered and calculated.
The bottom line is that Nike knows exactly what they were doing — in fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if they were anticipating the MAGA crowd lighting their Air Monarchs on fire — and whether you agree with Kaepernick’s politics or not, they’re still going to make money off of him, and you, all the same.