There’s not a doubt in my mind that Nike has brilliant analysts working for them, constantly running numbers and scenarios — and what they’ve managed to do for growth has largely paid off for the last several decades.
But not this time. Nike took a massive gamble by selecting Colin Kaepernick for their “Just Do It” 30th anniversary ad campaign (and a new commercial to air during Thursday night football), and by all accounts, they appeared to have lost that gamble in an astonishing way.
A poll from Morning Consult shows devastating results for Nike’s brand favorability, in the days after making Colin Kaepernick the face of their new ad campaign.
According to the poll via Axios, Nike’s numbers “dropped 34 points from a net +69 favorable impression (76% favorable, 7% unfavorable) among consumers to a net +35 favorable impression (60% favorable, 24% unfavorable).”
These numbers are nothing short of devastating for Nike, and with no other news worthy of note, there’s no explanation for the sudden decline other than the company’s commitment to Kaepernick.
According to Axios:
While Nike could face negative purchasing consideration as a result of the campaign, experts argue the sports goods giant likely calculated these risks and deemed that it wouldn’t impact its bottom line significantly, despite any short-term pushback.
According to the poll, before Nike announced Kaepernick as the face of its ad campaign, only 2% of Americans reported hearing something negative about Nike recently. That number increased to 33% after the announcement.
The poll also found that purchasing intent was down after the announcement.
Earlier Morning Consult polling shows that brands have relatively little upside in wading into issues that involve President Trump.
Another key finding of the poll was that Nike’s favorability not only didn’t improve among African Americans, it actually declined. This finding is particularly devastating considering it was widely reported that Nike decided to embrace Kaepernick, in part, to increase their already considerable appeal among blacks.
The report features over 8,000 interviews conducted among American adults, including 1,694 interviews pre-campaign launch (8/26/18 – 9/3/18) and 5,481 interviews post-campaign launch (9/4/18 – 9/5/18). Additionally, Morning Consult conducted a study among 1,168 adults in the U.S. about Nike’s ad and the decision to choose Kaepernick as the face of the campaign.
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