Nike's Colin Kaepernick ad campaign seems to be working wonders for the company.
Nike's Colin Kaepernick ad campaign seems to be working wonders for the company.

Nike boycott has surprising effect

NIKE has sold out 61 per cent more merchandise since the controversial ad campaign featuring former NFL player Colin Kaepernick appeared earlier this month, according to data on the company's online sales from Thomson Reuters Proprietary Research.

Kaepernick, who sparked a national controversy by kneeling during the national anthem, first tweeted the ad on the Labor Day weekend, which immediately sparked demands for a boycott of the company's products.

President Donald Trump also tweeted, without providing evidence, that Nike was "getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts".

But the research by Thomson Reuters, conducted in collaboration with StyleSage Co, showed the world's largest sportswear maker sold out far more items between September 3 and 13 than in the 10-day period before the ad came out.

Nike discounted fewer products in the 10-day period after the ad and its Colin Kaepernick women's jersey sold out on September 17, the research also showed.

"These strong statistics reinforce the notion that Nike is standing firm - and not just in a social context," Thomson Reuters consumer research director Jharonne Martis said.

"They don't need to participate in the discounting that tends to plague other retail brands."

Shares in Nike have rebounded from an initial drop when the first versions of the ad were released, hitting a record high a little over a week later.

The stock is now up nearly 7 per cent since the drop, outperforming a 1.9 per cent gain for the Dow Jones over the same period, helped by at least four analysts raising price targets ahead of first-quarter results on September 25.

Social media sentiment around the company, which dived in the immediate aftermath of the ad, also turned positive earlier this week, according to Thomson Reuters' Eikon Social Media Monitor.

President Donald Trump has been vocal in his opposition to NFL players kneeling. Picture: AP
President Donald Trump has been vocal in his opposition to NFL players kneeling. Picture: AP

"(Nike's) new 'Just Do It' ad campaign with Colin Kaepernick was a stroke of genius … this premeditated move was another subtle but significant sign of Nike's strength and confidence in its position in the marketplace," Canaccord Genuity analyst Camilo Lyon wrote in a client note last week.

Thomson Reuters is the parent company of Reuters News.


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