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Nike's Kaepernick ad: Valley ad agencies weigh in on financial impact

Posted at 4:19 PM, Sep 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-07 11:02:36-04

It's drawing a lot of eyeballs but will it bring in business? 

Nike's new ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback who kneeled during national anthems to protest racial injustice, uses the slogan, "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything." 

ABC15 talked with two Valley agencies that specialize in marketing and branding. Neither are connected to the Nike ad, but they weighed in on the strategy Nike is using with the provocative ad.  

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"It's created a huge controversy where that's money that's not spent, they're getting that just through media and people talking about it, and that's what a brand like Nike wants to do," said Richard Haynie with the ad agency, Commit Agency.  

In recent days, Nike has faced backlash for the ad, with some people filming themselves burning Nike products. 

VIDEO: Nike releases first full ad featuring Colin Kaepernick 

Haynie says Nike is targeting younger consumers, those under the age of 35, with the ad. 

"They're speaking to these young kids, these college kids, these high school kids that...want to be something great," Haynie said. 

So what type of fallout will Nike face? The marketing and branding firm Zion & Zion conducted a national study, which they say shows 25 percent of people indicated they would boycott Nike products. 

"Are other companies going to look at this?" CEO Aric Zion said of the Nike ad. "They're absolutely going to look at this, and they're going to wait with baited breath to see what happens. Because if it can work, other companies are going to look to take similar aggressive risks, and if it doesn't work companies are going to say 'ok, I don't know where the line is, but it's not over there."

Zion told ABC15 it could take a year or two to see the financial impact of the ad and whether it's a success for Nike or not. 

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"This whole campaign is completely consistent with going after that younger millennial and even younger than millennial demographic," Zion said. "The question is going to come back to is the pick up in revenue and attention from that audience, does it compensate for the downside of the campaign?"

Below are the results of the national study conducted by the Zion & Zion market research team. They say it includes 744 people that are current Nike customers and who said they are aware of the Nike ad that features Colin Kaepernick:

  1. 25 percent of those people indicated that they would be boycotting Nike products.
  2. That number falls to 18.6 percent for millennials and 16.8 percent for those 25 years of age and under.
  3. 28.8 percent of parents in the survey indicated that they will either stop buying Nike products for their minor children or that they will strongly discourage their children from buying Nike products.
  4. While only 12.1 percent of Democrats indicated that they would boycott Nike products, almost 50 percent (i.e., 48.8 percent) of Republicans and 25.1 percent of Independents indicated that they would boycott Nike.
  5. 36.5 percent of those that indicated that they have a family member presently or previously in law enforcement plan to boycott Nike.
  6. 37.3 percent of those that indicated that they have a family member that is a veteran or currently on active duty plan to boycott Nike.