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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

— 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 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.

Updated: 6-2-2020

Nike Unlocks Up To 3% In Crypto Rewards With Plutus Partnership

U.S. footwear giant Nike has entered a new affiliate partnership allowing customers to earn up to 3% from online purchases with crypto.

United States footwear giant Nike continues to explore the blockchain and cryptocurrency industry by introducing cash back in crypto.

The famous footwear and clothing company has just entered an affiliate partnership with London-based financial technology startup Plutus​ to unlock up to 3% in crypto and 9% cash rewards for making purchases on Nike’s online store.

Rewards Are Available For British Pounds And Euros Only

In order to receive the rewards, customers must use the Plutus Visa Card while shopping online. As Plutus currently operates within the United Kingdom and the European Economic Area, the service is now available for purchase in euros and the British pound, a spokesperson from the firm told Cointelegraph.

The rewards are generated in Plutus’s native token, Pluton (PLU), a decentralized loyalty token running on the Ethereum network. Apart from 12% in total rewards available, Plutus users can also earn more rewards by staking their PLU tokens via Plutus’ app, the firm said. As of press time, the token is trading at $1.75 with a market capitalization of about $1.5 million.

Plutus Is An Affiliate Partner For Airbnb And Skyscanner

By introducing Nike crypto rewards, Plutus is making another step in its mission to bring cryptocurrencies into everyday life. Nike’s affiliate partnership comes months after Plutus introduced a similar feature on major travel websites Airbnb and Skyscanner earlier this year. Unfortunately, development had to be paused due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Danial Daychopan, The Founder And CEO of Plutus, Said:

“Plutus was approved as an affiliate partner for both Airbnb and Skyscanner at the start of the year, however all programs in the travel category have been temporarily paused by the company due to travel restrictions caused by COVID-19. Both of these partners were included to offer cash back to qualified Plutus members.”

Crypto-linked features are nothing new to the Nike brand. In late 2019, Nike patented the so-called “CryptoKicks” shoes that are tokenized as a nonfungible token on the Ethereum blockchain. Nike has also participated in a blockchain-based supply chain pilot backed by Alabama’s Auburn University.

Updated: 6-7-2020

Apologies, Protests and Rebellion: Inside the NFL’s 72-Hour Awakening

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

Under intense pressure, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell gave players what they wanted: an admission that the league had fumbled issues of race.

Several NFL Players Released A Video On Twitter That Called On The League To Condemn Racism And Support Issues Of Racial Injustice.

Roger Goodell needed to say something. The topic that once threatened the NFL’s multibillion-dollar empire—player protests against police brutality during the national anthem—was back. And the commissioner needed to stop the league from tearing itself apart again in the wake of the killing of George Floyd.

Over 72 supercharged hours late last week, superstar players sniped at each other publicly and put unprecedented pressure on the league to fight racism and endorse their ability to protest against it.

Drew Brees, a future Hall of Fame quarterback, issued a humbling apology for his comments on the subject. Some of the game’s brightest young stars released a powerful video demanding action from the league on systemic racism—with help from a pair of NFL staffers who went against their bosses to help produce it.

By Friday afternoon, Goodell was scrambling to respond. He held an emotional town hall meeting with employees and then issued his own blockbuster: a mea culpa video in which he said ”we were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier” and endorsed players’ right to protest peacefully.

Then, two hours before the message was to be released, Goodell was preempted by renewed criticism of player protests by President Trump. It seemed that the league had come full circle back to the 2016 and 2017 seasons, when the political argument over player protests led by former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick badly divided the league and its audience.

The bracing sequence of events showed clearly that, in the debate about social injustice and police brutality, something has changed between 2017 and today.

Goodell in the past often said players should stand for the anthem and once endorsed a short-lived policy that would have required them to do so.

In the league town hall, people who attended the talk said, Goodell spoke about an employee who emailed him describing a feeling of hopelessness. He also said the moment brought him back to emotions he felt as a kid when he lived in Washington and watched up-close as demonstrators pushed back against the Vietnam War.

“He was very, very emotional,” said one person who attended the town hall. “He felt the same emotions we’ve all been feeling.”

Goodell’s message could prove thorny ahead of a season that promises escalated political tensions against the backdrop of a presidential election. Multiple executives said they expected renewed, broad player protests and couched it as an inevitability.

Goodell had been moving toward making a big statement for a week. But the league’s efforts to show that it understands the issue were haunted by the memory of the Kaepernick case.

On May 30, Goodell called league staffers as he watched national frustration build, and he felt compelled to personally weigh in. The country was being flooded by protests in the aftermath of George Floyd’s killing, and the connection to the NFL was deep in symbolism.

Floyd was killed after a police officer placed a knee on his neck. In 2016, Kaepernick launched player protests against police brutality by taking a knee during the national anthem. As protesters everywhere took a knee in the past week, the league was at the center of a charged, national controversy.

But Goodell’s statement that Saturday night, which didn’t include a specific mention of race, faced criticism. Two players on the Minnesota Vikings, who play in Minneapolis, the city where Floyd was killed, soon called the league out.

“Your statement said nothing. Your league is built on black athletes. Vague answers do nothing,” Anthony Barr and Eric Kendricks both wrote on Twitter. “And we know what silence means.”

By Wednesday, the uproar reached new heights when New Orleans Saints quarterback Drew Brees, in an interview with Yahoo Finance, said he would “never agree with anybody disrespecting the flag of the United States of America or our country.” The remark placed one of the NFL’s most celebrated players on the receiving end of severe criticism—from his own teammates, athletes and pundits—for comments that were viewed as insensitive.

That night, Bryndon Minter, a creative producer at the NFL, messaged Michael Thomas, the star Saints star receiver who catches many of Brees’s passes. Minter had a hunch Thomas, who has been outspoken on these topics, might want to say something after his teammate’s comments. Minter was joined by another NFL employee Nick Toney, and they were willing to risk their jobs to help.

Minter and another NFL employee, Nick Toney, began collaborating with Thomas on a video, Minter informed his boss that they were producing a piece that would call out their employer. “I’d been at peace with losing my job this whole time,” said Minter, who ultimately kept his job.

They also felt they were capturing the voice of not only the players, but black employees across the game who were looking for the league to take more forceful action. “A lot of us, together, collectively over hours and hours of Zoom calls expressed how we felt, not just to upper management but to each other,” Toney said.

While they raced to put together the video on Thursday, Brees issued a public apology. As the day went on, the NFL put out a statement that included the words: Black Lives Matter. It was the first time the NFL’s official Twitter account used the phrase. The series of tweets also highlighted the $44 million the league has given to causes that fight systemic racism and pledged an additional $20 million for this year.

That Thursday night, the video was released. It features the game’s biggest stars—Thomas, Patrick Mahomes, Saquon Barkley, Deshaun Watson and more—demanding the NFL say it was wrong for silencing its players amid a broader message that included the players asking: “What if I was George Floyd?”

“Roger felt like they were speaking directly to him,” said an executive familiar with the commissioner’s thinking. “There’s been a lot of self reflection going on across the league.”

On Friday, the league invited employees to a company-wide town hall with an email featuring pictures of George Floyd, Breonna Taylor, Ahmaud Arbery and other African-Americans who have been killed in recent years. The meeting included talks from college professors and an open session in which black employees spoke about their experiences with racism.

Later, as NFL staffers put the final touches on Goodell’s video, another frenzy hit: Trump revived his criticism of the player protests during the anthem. In two tweets, the president said Brees should not have taken back his original stance about the protests and that people should stand for the anthem. “NO KNEELING!” he tweeted.

The president’s tweets reignited a feud that had quieted down. After Kaepernick began the protests against police brutality in 2016, Trump made the issue a regular talking point and assailed the peaceful demonstrations as unpatriotic. In 2017, players knelt en masse one weekend to rebuke the president after he referred to a hypothetical protesting player as a “son of a bitch” in a stump speech.

Shortly thereafter, the NFL released Goodell’s video, which echoed the players’ language. The resounding message—and the pivot it represented for the country’s most popular sport—was of Goodell’s own design, multiple executives said. “That was more his personal decision than it was an ownership decision,” another executive said.

Goodell’s video did not address Trump—it was planned before the president’s tweets—nor did it specifically mention Kaepernick, the player who started the movement and has gone unsigned since. Last year, the NFL settled a grievance with Kaepernick who alleged the league and its 32 teams colluded to keep him unsigned because of his political views.

Meanwhile, NFL teams were sending out their own messages. Teams like the Jacksonville Jaguars and Denver Broncos went on marches. The New England Patriots committed an additional $1 million to causes to fight systemic racism. Owners issued statements of their own.

And hours after Goodell’s video was released, the quarterback who became a lightning rod amid this upheaval chimed in one more time. Brees, responding to Trump’s tweets, penned a lengthy message on Instagram that showed how much—and how quickly—the dialogue inside the NFL shifted.

“We can no longer use the flag to turn people away or distract them from the real issues that face our black communities,” Brees wrote in the message addressed to Trump. “We did this back in 2017, and regretfully I brought it back with my comments this week.”

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