Normally, big companies will avoid controversy like the plague. At least, that used to be the case. These days, it seems that corporations are in a race to see which one of them can earn the “Most Woke” award at the year-end LiberalMania ceremony, which we assume is held on some private island owned by George Soros and is accompanied by some of the strangest, most perverse sex parties you’ve ever dreamed of. And probably lots of Beyoncé music. But we’re just theorizing.
California’s In-N-Out Burger has already given up their claim to the award, having donated $25,000 to the Republican Party, so apparently Nike saw an opportunity to grab the brass ring. Thus, they decided, out of all the sports celebrities they could pick to represent the 30th anniversary of the iconic “Just Do It” campaign, there would be no one better to catapult them to the next level than renowned flag-disrespecter Colin Kaepernick.
We’ll give them one thing: If the name of the game is to get people talking about you, Nike pulled off the coup of a lifetime.
The new ad debuted on Monday afternoon, and social media lit up like a Christmas tree. “Believe in something,” the ad copy reads across a black and white picture of Kaepernick’s face. “Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
We guess Roseanne was unavailable.
“We believe Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward,” Nike representative Gino Fisanotti told ESPN. “We wanted to energize its meaning and introduce ‘Just Do It’ to a new generation of athletes.”
Nike is betting that their core target audience – teenage boys – will be captivated by the outsider Kaepernick, but early social media reaction shows what should have already been obvious: They’re taking a big risk by aligning their brand with someone this divisive. Fox News highlighted some of the backlash, which included fans recording themselves burning their Nike apparel in protest.
“First the @NFL forces me to choose between my favorite sport and my country,” Twitter user Sean Clancy wrote, according to Fox News. “I chose country. Then @Nike forces me to choose between my favorite shoes and my country. Since when did the American Flag and the National Anthem become offensive?”
It’s a question many Americans have been asking for the past couple of years, and all we get back is that “it’s not actually about the flag and the anthem.” Well, perhaps now we see that it’s actually about raising one’s celebrity profile and scoring a major endorsement package from one of the most sought-after brands in sports. Whatever it’s about, Nike is going to have to live with the consequences. And judging from the NFL’s current ratings/ticket sales woes, we’re not exactly sure what the hell they were thinking. Hope that award is worth it, guys.