Primary File

Nike, Inc.: Believing in Colin Kaepernick, Sacrificing Brand Image?

Boyle, K. Tuddenham, M. Weathers, D. O’Rourke, J. S. (editor)
March 12, 2019
North America
Marketing & Sales, Strategy & General Management
11 pages
brand, brand image, ad campaign, marketing, Branding
Student Price: 
$4.00 (€3.73)
Average rating: 

On September 4, 2018, Nike, Inc. launched a new ad campaign featuring, Colin Kaepernick, a professional athlete with a highly polarizing image. Kaepernick, known for kneeling in protest during the national anthem at National Football League games, immediately drew criticism from the public. Over the next two days, Twitter ignited with calls for a boycott and images of people burning and destroying Nike products. Nike stock price began falling and consumer favorability, even among key demographics, continued eroding. How can Nike rein in the anger at their brand? Or, should they take advantage of it?

Learning Outcomes: 
  • To highlight the conflict that arises when a company endorses a controversial athlete.
  • To encourage analysis of the business strategy Nike has chosen to communicate by endorsing NFL player Colin Kaepernick.
  • To promote discussion about how the Nike brand may be affected by the use of Colin Kaepernick’s image as the “Face of the Nike Brand.”