Despite heated backlash against Nike for its hypocritical decision to tap unemployed anthem-disrespecting, cop-hating NFL player Colin Kaepernick to represent its “Just Do It” campaign, the apparel retailer’s stock closed at an all-time high last week.
In response, Kaepernick’s supporters gloated. Included among the gloaters was NBA former Cleveland Cavaliers basketball star turned political commentator wannabe Lebron James:
— LeBron James (@KingJames) September 14, 2018
Some suspect the dig was aimed at President Donald Trump, who earlier this month had joined other conservatives in predicting Nike’s eventual demise because of its Kaepernick campaign.
Just like the NFL, whose ratings have gone WAY DOWN, Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts. I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way? As far as the NFL is concerned, I just find it hard to watch, and always will, until they stand for the FLAG!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 5, 2018
What was Nike thinking?
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 7, 2018
What remains unclear is whether James and those like him actually have any room to gloat over what only appears to be a successful ad campaign.
According to financial advisers with Stone Fox Capital, while Nike’s stock is performing well now, the company faces the risk of long-term brand damage because of its relationship with Kaepernick.
One piece of evidence the firm cites is a a report by the research firm Edison Trends. Though the report found that Nike’s online sales spiked by 31 percent from the Sunday of Labor Day weekend through Tuesday, it contained a hidden caveat not noticed by most media outlets.
“Hidden in the report was a small nugget from 4C Insights that the sentiment towards the brand dropped 38% in the initial couple of days following the ad,” Stone Fox Capital wrote for the investment news portal Seeking Alpha.
The firm also cites a recent Morning Consult poll that found that only a 33 percent minority of adults in the general public view anthem-disrespecting NFL players with Kaepernick favorably. And of those 33 percent, almost all are already Nike customers. There is therefore a high probability that the brand’s new “Just Do It” campaign offended a large number of non-Nike customers who had previously been potential customers but probably aren’t anymore.
According to Stone Fox Capital, these facts suggest Nike could experience long-term brand damage because of its association with Kaepernick.
Many on social media agree with the firm’s assessment:
Initial sales pop from fanatics won’t support long term sales growth. Nike brand is damaged and sales will fall as the company is seen as a beacon of the pro-progressive movement. Conservatives and many republicans just will not buy the brand anymore.
— JerseyStrongPatriot (@Montlake1987) September 14, 2018
Be patient. Nike damaged its brand. It will take time but eventually this is going to hurt Nike. Buycotts wear off quickly. Reputational damage lasts a long time. If conservatives stick to their boycott, Nike will suffer.
— PrinceOfSnide (@SnidePrince) September 15, 2018
Lol. Who cares Nike will suffer long term brand damage and much more! The reason for the stock regaining its losses is bc all the liberals ran out and bought it. Give it a few months and the effects will kick in. We already saw a massive 4 billion initial loss.
— RepublicanNewsOrg (@RepNewsOrg) September 15, 2018
and There it is: Johnny come lately! The brand dropped 38% since the ad. Labor Day holiday sales mean anything(?), favorable consumers went out to buy… can you say: temporary damage control Vs. long term impacts. *he who laughs first.
— Mitch (@AjarnMitch) September 15, 2018
Nike might make more money in the short run but they have really done damage to there brand. Insulting the military and the brave men and women is just so stupid. Anti-Americanism is now part of the brand. How can that be good!
— Gary Kelly (@gkelly1438) September 10, 2018
The firm further argues that Nike would have been better off following the path it did with retired NBA star Michael Jordan’s “Air Jordan” brand:
“The real question is why Nike is moving away from what made the Jordan brand so successful. No matter whether Michael Jordan ever uttered the phrase ‘Republicans buy sneakers too’, him staying out of politics is a big part of why the Jordan brand remains highly successful today and focused on his athletic accomplishments and not distracted by political issues.”
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