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How Will Nike's Brand Be Affected By The Colin Kaepernick Ad?

Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick — who helped ignite President Donald Trump’s battle with the NFL over the national anthem — has returned to the public square with a new ad campaign from Nike.

Aric Zion is the CEO at Zion & Zion, a Phoenix ad agency that has an in-house market research team. The team conducted a survey of more than 700 current Nike customers who were aware of the ad featuring Kaepernick, and found that 25 percent planned to boycott Nike’s products.

Zion says the decision to run this ad was a particularly risky move for Nike from a business perspective.

Something that Zion says surprised his team was the 25 percent figure, which is huge when you’re talking about the effect of a customer boycott on a brand’s bottom line. But Zion says they thought that number would drop significantly if they just looked at Millennials, but that’s not what happened — 18.6 percent of Millennials said they’ll boycott Nike.

Since the ad and the ensuing debate, Nike has enjoyed a nice sales bump from the publicity, but Zion predicts the negative impressions will outlast the positive bump.

Zion & Zion found that the groups with higher numbers of customers who said they’ll boycott Nike were Republicans, as well as those with a family member currently or previously in law enforcement or in the military.

Regardless of how the campaign ultimately affects Nike’s bottom line, the company has entered into a true partnership with Kaepernick and has provided him a greater platform for his activism and social justice work.

Victoria Jackson, sports historian and lecturer of history at ASU, joined The Show to talk more about this. She’s also a former college and professional athlete.

Steve Goldstein was a host at KJZZ from 1997 to 2022.