Over Labor Day weekend, Nike launched the new faces including of its 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign. Among them was Colin Kaepernick.
The advertisement was the top trend on Twitter on Sept. 3 after Kaepernick shared a close-up of his face captioned “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” Nike’s present campaign slogan. The message was later retweeted by Nike.
Kaepernick subsequently signed a multiyear deal with Nike guaranteeing the ex-San Francisco 49er quarterback billboards, television commercials and a new line of apparel.
As the controversial ad began dominating social media, angry Nike customers have gone to extreme measures to demonstrate their disapproval: cutting the swoosh off their socks, lighting their Nike shoes and apparel on fire.
People have also edited, replacing Kaepernick with Pat Tillman, the former Arizona Cardinals linebacker who left the NFL to join the marines after 9/11 and was killed by friendly fire in Afghanistan in 2004.
Nike’s stocks decreased by three percent over the weekend (still an increase of 28 percent for the year).
Kaepernick first took a knee during the 2016 preseason and has been a free agent since March 2017. He is now suing the NFL, alleging that the owners are working to keep him out of the league.
Serena Williams, one-handed Seahawks linebacker Shaquem Griffin, Odell Beckham Jr., Lacey Baker and LeBron James also have ads in the new campaign.
Williams’ ad also had some controversy with what she was wearing.
Williams and James shared via social media that Nike’s Kaepernick ad has a powerful message and that “they stand by it.”
Nike has experienced a mixture of backlash, including #NikeBoycott, and support.
Nike stated they were targeting the younger crowd who wear brands that stand for what they believe in.