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Nike Says The Colin Kaepernick ‘Just Do It’ Campaign Is Driving Traffic And Engagement (#GotBitcoin?)

Nike Inc. took a risk by casting Colin Kaepernick in its latest “Just Do It” ad, and the company says it’s paying off. Nike Says The Colin Kaepernick ‘Just Do It’ Campaign Is Driving Traffic And Engagement (#GotBitcoin?)

On the fiscal first-quarter earnings call late Tuesday, Nike Chief Executive Mark Parker said the ad, which also includes tennis champ Serena Williams and skateboarder Lacey Baker, is inspiring people across the globe.

“Like… many campaigns, it’s driving a real uptick, I think, in traffic and engagement, both socially as well as commercially,” Parker said, according to a FactSet transcript.

“We’ve seen record engagement with the brand as part of the campaign. And our brand strength, as you well know, is a key dimension that contributes to the ongoing momentum that we’re building across the Nike portfolio.”

Nike’s decision to feature the former NFL quarterback in the latest ad was met with a stock price dip and backlash, including calls for a boycott. But the company quickly rebounded, with shares turning up and online sales jumping 31% from Sunday of Labor Day weekend to the following Tuesday.

Nike’s Kaepernick Ad Provides Long-Term Gain After Near-term Pain

“We feel actually very good and very proud of the work that we’re doing with Just Do It, introducing Just Do It to the new generation of consumers on the 30th anniversary of the campaign,” Parker said. “We know it’s resonated actually quite strongly with consumers obviously here in North America, but also around the world.”

The company also reported better-than-expected quarterly results. Earnings per share were 67 cents, beating the 63-cents-per-share FactSet consensus, and sales totaled $9.95 billion, ahead of the $9.93 billion FactSet guidance.

Parker highlighted double-digit revenue growth internationally and 6% growth in North America, a region that had been challenged.

Even before the earnings release, Nike was upgraded at Canaccord Genuity based on innovation, improved customer experience, and more controlled distribution of the company’s iconic Jordan brand.

After the results, analysts were largely bullish, focusing on details like the pipeline for new merchandise, which includes the Air Max 720 that Parker said has been engineered for “maximum comfort,” the opportunities in certain categories, like women’s, and growth in digital.

“While improvement in the footwear business continues to be the focus for many investors (+10% in 1Q19), Nike’s apparel business is quietly posting impressive results,” wrote Susquehanna Financial Group in a note. Analysts there rate Nike shares positive with a $100 price target.

Still, shares closed down 1.3% on Wednesday. Analysts suggest a few reasons, among them: share price acceleration over the past year, with the stock up 56% for the last 12 months, outpacing the Dow Jones Industrial Average DJIA, -0.40% (up 18.4%), for the period); conservative guidance versus elevated expectations; and challenges in North American fundamentals near term.

“[W]e believe the industry shift from performance to lifestyle has reduced barriers to entry (larger fashion/pop culture/price element vs. innovation in the past) and elevated competition in the athletic space,” adds J.P. Morgan analysts. They estimate the luxury sneaker market at about $3 billion, for example.

Parker talked about Nike’s “ability to create unique intersections between sport and style,” with Serena Williams wearing gear that was designed through a collaboration with Virgil Abloh, the designer behind brands like Off-White and the artistic director of Louis Vuitton’s menswear.

“QUEEN”@Nike @nikewomen @Nikecourt @virgilabloh pic.twitter.com/91SRvLfpt2

— Serena Williams (@serenawilliams) August 13, 2018

“As I’ve said before, it’s not lifestyle versus performance or fashion versus sport,” said Parker on the call. “The consumer continues to be inspired by seeing those worlds come together.”

Analysts were largely bullish, with Baird raising its price target to $94 from $90 and maintaining its outperform rating.

“More broadly Nike’s pursuit of custom consumer experiences at scale could prove transformative over time, with NKE leveraging company-owned digital (SNKRs continuing to roll out globally; new Nike Live store, Nike App at retail expanding) and key global partners (recent Jet.com pilot announcement; Nike Plus partnerships with Tmall, WeChat) supported by enhanced data capabilities,” analysts wrote.

March 16, 2018

Two Nike Execs Leave Amid Complaints About Work Environment

Two Nike executives have resigned in the midst of complaints about the work environment.

Nike Brand President Trevor Edwards and VP Jayme Martin resigned on Thursday — the same day that Nike sent a company-wide email to employees addressing workplace conditions and how to “evolve” company culture.

Nike said in a statement that “there has been conduct inconsistent with Nike’s core values and against our code of conduct.”

Martin, who was the vice president and general manager of global categories, joined Nike in 1997. Nike wouldn’t comment on Martin’s departure. He worked under Edwards.

A Nike spokeswoman said “there have been no direct allegations of misconduct against,” Edwards.

They would not comment about direct complaints about Martin.

Neither Martin nor Edwards immediately responded to requests for comment.

Edwards joined Nike in 1992 and will retire in August. While he has immediately resigned his position, he will continue to serve as an adviser to CEO Mark Parker to help Nike through the transitional period.

Nike also announced that Parker will stay on as chairman, president and CEO beyond 2020. Parker thanked Edwards for his 25 years of work in a statement on Thursday.

“He has helped us grow and strengthen our brand on a global scale,” Parker said.

“I am committed to stay in my role as Chairman, President and CEO beyond 2020. Trevor has decided to retire. We are fortunate to have a strong management team in place who is well suited to drive our next stage of growth and to steward and evolve our culture in the future.”

Updated: 12-27-2019

Colin Kaepernick’s Nike Platform Grows With a New Shoe

Nike has deepened its partnership with the controversial athlete by releasing a new shoe just ahead of Christmas.

It has been three years since Colin Kaepernick played in the National Football League, one year since Nike Inc. made him the face of a controversial advertising campaign and one month since the sneaker giant was caught in a firefight between the exiled quarterback and the league over a failed workout.

On Monday, Nike again deepened its partnership with the controversial and unemployed athlete when it released a new shoe just ahead of Christmas. The launch of the “Air Force 1 ’07 x Colin Kaepernick,” a black-and-white shoe with Mr. Kaepernick’s image embroidered on the heel, caps a year when the Nike-Kaepernick relationship has consistently provoked sharp reactions—from nixing a July 4-themed sneaker to rancor surrounding a league-organized workout for Mr. Kaepernick.

It isn’t a simple relationship. Nike is a major business partner of the NFL, but has continued to promote Mr. Kaepernick, an NFL adversary who alleged that the league and its teams colluded to keep him unsigned because of his outspoken political views.

The new shoe is part of a deal that Nike and Mr. Kaepernick struck last year, before the company made Mr. Kaepernick as the face of its brash “Dream Crazy” advertising campaign, a person familiar with the matter said. Mr. Kaepernick had long been a Nike athlete, but he had been effectively shelved for years until that campaign launched at the start of the 2018 NFL season.

“Colin was identified because we believe his voice and perspective inspire many generations on and off the field,” a Nike spokeswoman said.

Featuring Mr. Kaepernick was a bold move for Nike. He was a star for the San Francisco 49ers when, in 2016, he began to lead player protests during the national anthem to call attention to social injustice and racial inequality. The resulting uproar reverberated powerfully across the political spectrum.

Mr. Kaepernick has gone unsigned since that season, which established him as a polarizing icon with supporters who praised his message and detractors who assailed him as unpatriotic. Mr. Kaepernick later filed his grievance against the league, which has since been settled.

NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell has said decisions about signing players are left to the teams, and any team is free to sign Mr. Kaepernick.

Nike featured Mr. Kaepernick despite making the uniforms and sideline apparel for all 32 NFL teams, a lucrative pact. The campaign turned out to be hugely popular, and its stock price has steadily risen in the 15 months since the release of the Kaepernick-narrated commercial.

Nike was encouraged to push ahead with the shoe after the positive response to a limited-edition Kaepernick jersey the company made and sold out quickly, the person familiar with the matter said. A year ago, Mr. Kaepernick filed a trademark for the image of his face and hair, and that likeness is used on the shoe’s heel.

Mr. Kaepernick tweeted that at least two retailers will donate profits from the shoe, which costs $110 for adult sizes, to charitable causes.

“As a football star with the ability to articulate a powerful message, Kaepernick is one of this generation’s most prominent crossover cultural influencers,” a description of the shoe says on Nike’s website.

Joining with Mr. Kaepernick sometimes has generated headaches for Nike.

Before July 4 this year, Nike, at Mr. Kaepernick’s behest, stopped the release of a sneaker featuring the so-called Betsy Ross flag, an American Revolution-era design with 13 white stars in a circle. Mr. Kaepernick had told the company that some people see it as a symbol of hate and exclusion.

Some critics skewered the decision to pull the shoe. Nike replied that it was “proud of its American heritage” but pulled the shoe “based on concerns that it could unintentionally offend and detract from the nation’s patriotic holiday.”

Then, in November, Nike found itself in the middle of an imbroglio between the NFL and Mr. Kaepernick. An unprecedented workout the league had arranged for teams to scout Mr. Kaepernick fell apart at the last minute—even as NFL officials were privately touting that they had worked with Nike and Mr. Kaepernick on an advertisement pegged to the event. The ad never appeared.

Making matters worse, the NFL’s sharply worded statement about the event’s demise placed Nike at the center of the drama, which Nike rebutted saying it never had a camera crew there. The company was caught off guard for being called out by the NFL, a person familiar with the matter said at the time.

The incident clearly did little to diminish the partnership. Just a month later, Nike released Mr. Kaepernick’s shoe. Nike Says The Colin Kaepernick ,Nike Says The Colin Kaepernick ,Nike Says The Colin Kaepernick ,Nike Says The Colin Kaepernick ,Nike Says The Colin Kaepernick ,Nike Says The Colin Kaepernick ,Nike Says The Colin Kaepernick

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