Tags: nike | colin kaepernick | boycott | backlash

With Kaepernick, Nike Just Blew It

With Kaepernick, Nike Just Blew It
Colin Kaepernick on March 7, 2018, in New York City. (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images for Hearst)

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Tuesday, 04 September 2018 01:15 PM Current | Bio | Archive

Exactly two years ago, I predicted in this column that, unchecked and unthrottled, Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling antics would hurt the NFL’s brand.

I had no idea how prescient I was.

Other players, as expected, began to mimic Kaepernick, and the fans grew increasingly angry. President Trump repeatedly mocked, and still mocks, the kneeling players.

In 2016 and 2017, we saw half-empty stadiums.

According to AdWeek, there was a 10 percent drop in TV viewers in 2017, and make-goods — free ad time networks give to advertisers to compensate for TV audiences smaller than promised — accounted for 23 percent of units in 2017, up from 21 percent in the 2016 season.

As I indicated in my previous article, Kaepernick’s contention that the police are purposely brutal to black people is simply unfounded. And all claims that players have a First Amendment right to protest at work are bogus.

Fans simply don’t admire the NFL as they once did. So, ESPN announced that it no longer will broadcast the National Anthem on Monday Night Football.

Not to worry. When the pot simmers, stir it again.

Nike is celebrating the 30th anniversary of its famed “Just Do It” campaign. The iconic retailer is featuring the faces of Odell Beckham Jr., Shaquem Griffin, Lacey Baker, Serena Williams, and LeBron James in its promotional campaign.

Don’t stop there.

Some Einstein decided to embellish this group of distinguished athletes with the visage of a polarizing former quarterback, Kaepernick, now known more for protesting than throwing touchdowns.

Makes sense, right?

The plan: Alienate customers with the face of a guy who personifies disrespecting cops and the National Anthem. Why, that’s brilliant!

To compound that brilliance, let’s create a catchy, pithy slogan. How about: "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything."

Sacrificing? Everything? This is pure virtue-signaling.

Kaepernick has been on paid contract with Nike since 2011. Also, he’s suing the NFL for colluding to keep him out of the league, even though some teams, like the Seattle Seahawks, have let him try out.

Fact: He quit the 49ers, mid-contract, leaving tens of millions on the table, and then made himself an objectionable pariah whom nobody wants.

But, by being a phony victim, Kaepernick has won awards! Amnesty International’s “Ambassador of Conscience Award.” The Eason Monroe “Courageous Advocate Award.” Sports Illustrated’s “Muhammed Ali Legacy Award.”

Gino Fisanotti, Nike's VP of brand for North America, told ESPN: “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."

Inspirational for what, to whom? Moved the world forward? I’m searching for the evidence.

Asked the difference between today’s athletes and those of 40 years ago, Hall of Fame football coach Lou Holtz recently opined: “Today, everybody wants to talk about their rights and their privileges. Forty years ago, we talked about our obligations and our responsibilities. I believe that we still need to get back to the obligations and responsibilities you have to other people.”

Clearly, Holtz is talking about Kaepernick and his imitators and his admirers.

“Just do it” is memorable and motivational. It means: Don’t quit when giving up is the convenient choice. But, to a generation that rarely has been told “no,” and knows little about responsibility and obligation, it means: Be reckless, be disrespectful — regardless of the consequences.

Investors are so angry that Nike’s stock dropped today by three percent (as of this writing), and customers are ripping swooshes from their shirts and shoes and boycotting further purchases thereof.

Nike just blew it. Overnight, by making Kaepernick its face, its brand morphed from celebrating our winners to coddling our whiners.

Marc Rudov is a branding advisor to CEOs, speaker, media commentator, and author of "Brand Is Destiny: The Ultimate Bottom Line" and "Be Unique or Be Ignored: The CEO’s Guide to Branding." Find him at MarcRudov.com. For more of his reports, Go Here Now.

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Exactly two years ago, I predicted in this column that, unchecked and unthrottled, Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling antics would hurt the NFL’s brand.
nike, colin kaepernick, boycott, backlash
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2018-15-04
Tuesday, 04 September 2018 01:15 PM
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