To celebrate Labor Day with some unapologetic brand messaging, Nike unleashed their latest advertisement commemorating their 30th anniversary “Just Do It” campaign. The image, which has since taken the internet by storm, features an up-close, black-and-white portrait of Colin Kaepernick, accompanied by the slogan, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
The message (and accompanying endorsement of the former San Francisco 49ers QB) is a powerful one, with the impassioned responses further showcasing how a portion of the United States still doesn’t seem to understand what Kaepernick’s protest is truly all about, while others are eagerly praising Nike for the move.
Kaepernick, who generated controversy after kneeling during the national anthem and sparking a national movement protesting police brutality and racial injustice in 2016, has been out-of-work from the NFL for well over a year now, recently scoring an early victory in his legal battle when the judge overseeing the case refused to throw it out after a motion to dismiss was filed in early August. As such, Kaep and his legal team are able to move forward in their complaint that the athlete has not been successful in securing a player contract (since becoming a free agent in March 2017) due to an alleged violation of Article 17, Section 1, the collective bargaining agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA.
The ad campaign, which has been trending online for nearly a full 24-hour period and counting, has reportedly garnered over $43 million worth of media exposure, according to Apex Marketing Group. It additionally has resulted in Nike’s market cap to fall, losing about $3.75 billion after the announcement went viral. On Friday (Aug. 31), Nike’s market cap was $131.57 billion, and as of Tuesday (Sept. 4), that number is $127.82 billion, with stocks dropping nearly 3 percent.
However, while the backlash is monumental (with folks dramatically cutting off the Nike swoosh on already-owned products, lighting their sneakers on fire and overall encouraging the hashtag #BoycottNike to trend), so is the support, with an outpouring of praise saluting the company. Many feel as though Nike’s extended public support of Kaepernick is overall better for their legacy and brand image, even if the bottom line may be slightly impacted. As we’re predictably seeing online, the latest installment of Nike’s ad campaign has left some folks feeling alienated, claiming they feel they have no choice but to support their country over the league and now over their “one-time favorite” sneaker company. Regardless of which side football fans may fall on, back in March of this year, the NFL and Nike announced they had agreed to extend their longtime partnership for game apparel until 2028.
Nike’s ongoing campaign features high-profile athletes, including Serena Williams, LeBron James, Lacey Baker, Shaquem Griffin and Odell Beckham Jr, with each image donning a fitting inspirational quote.
In the wake of the French Tennis Federation‘s decision to ban Williams’ all-black Nike catsuit from next year’s French Open due to a new dress code being implement, Nike voiced their support, kicking off the campaign with the message, “You can take the superhero out of her costume, but you can never take away her superpowers.” The shot of Williams in action was met with praise, paving the way for the conversation to continue upon the big reveal that Kaepernick was the campaign’s next face.
As Nike dominates the public discourse this week, many feel as though the company’s decision to make a powerful statement in its latest campaign will be remembered as being “on the right side of history,” especially in a time where many corporations are choosing to sidestep political issues for fear of tarnishing their image. Nike clearly has had enough of playing it safe, with countless celebrities and recording artists, such as Meek Mill, Vince Staples, T.I., Snoop Dogg, Quavo, 2 Chainz, Bun B, Swizz Beatz and Wale, reposting the image and vocalizing their approval.
It’s a big move for Nike to make but it’s clear the team behind the sneaker giant is confident that the reward is bigger than the risk, especially when their overall legacy could be at stake if they remained silent. With Kaepernick’s lawsuit entering its next stage and football season about to be in full swing, there’s plenty more history to be made. Let’s do it.
See some of the reactions to Nike’s new ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, below.
YOU MIGHT ALSO LIKE
Below, our gift guide highlights some of our favorite Walmart finds for anyone in need of a home refresh.
Take a look inside the Makers Studio presented by Walmart at REVOLT WORLD, a space where Black creators could hone in on their brand and see it come to life.
In this new episode of ‘Bet on Black,’ food and beverage take center stage as aspiring Black entrepreneurs from It’s Seasoned, Black Farmer Box, and Moors Brewing Co. present their business ideas to judges with mentorship from Melissa Butler. Watch here!
Fly Guy DC taps in with REVOLT WORLD attendees to learn what the Opportunity Center, presented by Walmart, means to them and their futures.
“REVOLT Black News” correspondent Kennedy Rue counts down the top five moments from the 2023 Billboard Music Awards, including surprising wins, historic firsts, and dope performances. Sponsored by Amazon.
Walmart supports HBCU students and encourages them to be Black & Unlimited. Fly Guy DC talked to a few at REVOLT WORLD about how being an HBCU student has changed their lives.
In the season finale of “Bet on Black,” special guest judge Ray J joins as the finalists take the main stage to show they have what it takes to win the $200,000 grand prize; Melissa Butler and Eunique Jones Gibson mentor. Presented by Target.
REVOLT is continuing its impactful partnership with Walmart by teaming up to showcase Black creatives at HBCUs all-across America. The panel consisted of three experienced, accomplished Black HBCU alumni: Actor and media personality Terrence J, entertainment attorney John T. Rose, and actress and “REVOLT Black News” correspondent Kennedy-Rue McCullough.
The health of a community can often be traced to the health of the environment that surrounds it. In Atlanta, a woman named Dr. Jaqueline Echols has dedicated her life to helping ensure that people in economically underserved communities have clean rivers – for better health and for the joy of outdoor recreational space.
Join Kennedy Rue on “REVOLT Black News Weekly” as she dives into the world of Black entertainment in 2023. In this episode, we welcome the iconic Ludacris, celebrated producer Will Packer, and renowned director Tim Story. Together, they explore the cultural shifts in Hollywood, emphasizing the importance of Black representation in holiday films. The discussion highlights ‘Dashing Through the Snow,’ a Christmas movie that celebrates Black joy and tackles deeper themes of faith and childhood trauma. Watch!
On this all-new episode of “On In 5,” multitalented Nigerian artist Pheelz opens up about waiting for his opportunity to fully express himself through music, his inspirations and emotions, and the musical icons he grew up admiring. Watch!
Tiffany Haddish on therapy, wild fan interactions & the upcoming 'Haunted Mansion' movie | 'The Jason Lee Show'
On this all-new episode of “The Jason Lee Show,” the one and only Tiffany Haddish sits for a must-watch conversation about wild interactions with fans, her new movie ‘Haunted Mansion,’ bringing her therapist on dates, and being present. Watch the hilarious interview here.
Kareem Cook talks growing up in The Bronx, studying at Duke & networking | 'The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels'
On this all-new episode of “The Blackprint with Detavio Samuels,” the host and REVOLT CEO sits down with Kareem Cook. Throughout the introspective episode, Cook talks growing up in The Bronx, studying at Duke and being nervous to be in the South at the time, network vs. education, taking advantage of your opportunities, and connecting with Debbie Allen. Watch!
For this all-new episode of “On In 5,” singer-songwriter BNXN discusses his journey from IT to music, finding his voice and originality, linking up with Wizkid for their hits “Mood” and “Many Ways,” and what fans can expect from him this year — including a new album. Watch the full episode here!
In this exclusive interview, DDG opens up about his fashion inspiration, what drew him to girlfriend Halle Bailey, dealing with negative opinions about his relationship, and more. Read up!
The artist has remained remarkably consistent in her song lyrics about making money, telling off haters and feeling liberated since her debut.