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The lowdown on Colin Kaepernick’s Nike ad campaign

Colin Kaepernick
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Written by Tim Barnes-Clay

In case you haven’t already heard about it, here’s the big story behind Nike’s ad campaign with Colin Kaepernick.

It’s was recently announced that former NFL star Colin Kaepernick will star in a major Nike campaign. The news has been celebrated by many, but condemned by a few others.

Who is Colin Kaepernick?

Colin Kaepernick made his name as the quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers. He made the news when he refused to stand for the national anthem before a game in 2016. Instead, he knelt in protest of US police brutality against African-Americans. While many called him a hero, he offended many patriots with his protest. Donald Trump was the most notable objector to Kaepernick’s gesture. Regardless, many other players copied the move.

Kaepernick has not played in a game at the NFL since last year. He is now suing the organisation. He claims that he’s been frozen out of the sport due to his politics.

What is the Nike campaign?

The advertising campaign celebrates the 30th anniversary of ‘Just Do It’ – a phrase that helped Nike explode in popularity. It was so successful that, in the ten years following the phrase’s creation, Nike’s share of the domestic sport-shoe market increased from 18 per cent to 43 per cent. In the same period, it increased worldwide sales from $877 million to $9.2 billion. For this reason, the phrase ‘Just Do It’ is a key part of Nike’s brand.

Nike did not actually signed Kaepernick following his ‘taking the knee’ protest. He was already signed to Nike during the controversy, but has recently renegotiated his contract. The ad he features in declares, “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything.”

What’s the reaction to the campaign?

The campaign has reignited the debate over Kaepernick’s original protest. Many commentators have praised Nike’s decision. They celebrate the mainstream recognition of his political statement. Others are offended by this same recognition. Hashtags like #BoycottNike and #JustBurnIt have trended on Twitter following the announcement of the campaign.

But as a publication for parents who no doubt want to encourage their children to be strong of character, we love Nike’s message of standing up (or in this case kneeling down) for what you believe in.