If you’ve read my previous blogs (mostly here) and search ‘Nike’, you will know that I have been one of the first out of the blocks to criticise them in the past. And rightly so as part of the elite corporate sportswear companies that keep the Olympic and other sporting bodies ticking in the manner to which they have become accustomed.
But credit where credit is due.
I want to say well done to all involved in their latest campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick.
Of course, I am an unabashed fan of Kaepernick. Back in 2016, I named him in my unofficial ‘Watercooler’ awards as the athlete of the year. To me, he is an inspiration; an example of an athlete who not just talks about matters that are bigger than sport, but lives by his values and his principles.
While for some of us who might enjoy an almond milk latte in the morning and a Sonoma Pinot Noir in the evening, Nike’s use of Kaepernick is nothing but brilliant brand positioning, in fact in the United States of America of today, it’s bloody brave in business terms.
I won’t go into the politics of the USA – although it fascinates me! Suffice to say, that for all of those (like me) who give Nike a big thumbs-up, there are also those who feel quite the opposite and see Kaepernick as representative of why America needs, according to some, to be made ‘great’ again.
I agree with the daughter of the late John McCain, Meghan, who said at his memorial service that America doesn’t need to be made great again because it already is.
So I was pleased to see that after an initial and nasty backlash that Nike has bounced back with sales increasing 31% over their all-important Labor Day weekend.
People are voting with their feet. Literally. Nike deserves the support for having the guts to run this campaign.
And, above all, Colin Kaepernick continues to deserve our support. His football career might not have panned out the way he wanted or expected, but he can stand tall in life.
Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything, he exhorts us.
What a wonderful saying to live by. We should all just do it.