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- Nike revealed on Monday that Colin Kaepernick is the face of its “Just Do It” 30th anniversary ad campaign.
- While the move was a calculated risk on the part of Nike, it wasn’t the only brand interested in getting Kaepernick as an ambassador, with rivals Puma and Adidas reportedly among the companies looking to sign the athlete-turned-activist.
- Reaction to Nike’s campaign has been swift and predictable, with his supporters praising the move and his detractors burning their shoes.
Colin Kaepernick may still be out of the NFL, but as his new Nike campaign shows, he’s still a central figure in the worlds of sports.
On Monday, Nike revealed Kaepernick as the face of its “Just Do It” 30th anniversary ad campaign.
The former 49ers standout-turned-activist has been with the brand since 2011 but had not been featured in ads for two years. Now, it looks as thought Kap will be a centerpiece for Nike, at least for the near future.
While the decision was undoubtedly a calculated risk for the brand – trusting that its customer base will be more pro-Kaepernick than his loudest detractors on the internet – Nike wasn’t the only company looking to have Kaepernick as an ambassador.
According to a report from Charles Robinson at Yahoo Sports, Adidas and Puma were among the brands that had been interested in signing Kaepernick. From Robinson:
“We talked about Colin in March. A lot, actually,” one shoe industry executive said. “We all know the specific kind of deals NFL players are on with each other. His deal was running out and he had a shoe commitment that hadn’t been done for whatever reason. I’m sure it was because of everything that was going on around him. But it looked like Nike was running out the clock on [his deal] because he didn’t have a lot of time left and nothing was really happening with him. So there were some discussions for us about what kind of an endorser he could be.”
So far, reactions to Nike’s Kaepernick-centric campaign has been swift and predictable, earning praise from those supportive of Kaepernick’s cause, while others burned their Nike gear. Ironically, the brands that missed out on signing him might still capitalize off of Kaepernick indirectly – some people have pledged to buy Adidas and boycott Nike in response to the campaign.
There’s no doubt that Nike expected these opposing reactions to the campaign, but it appears it wasn’t the only brand willing to take the risk of alienating some of its potential customers in order to capitalize on the press and goodwill that including Kaepernick would earn in other circles.