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Nike enjoys 31 percent bump in online sales after debut of Colin Kaepernick campaign

September 8, 2018 at 9:41 PM

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Nike chose Colin Kaepernick, the NFL free agent quarterback whose kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police shootings of unarmed black men ignited a national controversy, as one of the faces for a new ad campaign marking the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” slogan. (Taylor Turner, Patrick Martin/The Washington Post)

Colin Kaepernick has been a lightning rod for controversy ever since he made his decision to bring attention to police brutality two seasons ago when, as the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, he began taking a knee during the national anthem. So it came as no surprise that when Nike recently unveiled it’s new “Dream Crazy” campaign, passionate reactions from consumers across the globe took hold.

Responses to the ads sparked debate about whether Nike had bitten off more than it could chew when the company decided to make its relationship with Kaepernick public — or whether it had simply made a good business decision.

But a report from Edison Trends, a top advertising research firm, shows that Nike’s new commercial could be good for business. According to the report, following a brief decline, the shoe giant’s online sales grew 31 percent which was substantially better than 2017’s 17 percent increase during that same time period.

Related: [NFL Week 1: National anthem and Trump threaten to overshadow QB story lines]

“There was speculation that the Nike/Kaepernick campaign would lead to a drop in sales, but our data over the last week does not support that theory,” Hetal Pandya, co-founder of Edison Trends, told

Nike’s campaign, which celebrates the 30th anniversary of Nike’s iconic “Just Do It” mantra, includes an ad comprised of a black and white photo of Colin Kaepernick, with the words: “Believe In something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” as well as a 90-second commercial featuring video clips of well-known athletes such as LeBron James and Serena Williams, accompanied by a voice-over and appearance from Kaepernick himself.

“Dream Crazy” has been watched more than 16 million times on YouTube and has garnered nearly 15,000 comments on the site.

Kaepernick’s 49ers jersey has continued to rank among the best-selling ones in the league despite his remaining unsigned.

Read more:

‘What was Nike thinking?’: Trump reacts to Nike ad featuring Colin Kaepernick

Josh Norman says he wasn’t trying to ‘tear down’ Colin Kaepernick

Blackistone: Nike ad wedges Colin Kaepernick back into the NFL, but money muddles the message

Tramel Raggs is a sports reporter for The Washington Post.

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