Last week the launch of the advertising campaign of the manufacturer of sports clothing and footwear of Nike in honor of the 30th anniversary of a legendary slogan Just do it (“Just do it”). Her face was selected by the infamous former player of the National football League (NFL) Colin Kapernick. And this fact, which is a key in history, sent a company comparable to a roller coaster path.
From the start of trading, Nike shares fell about $3,17 at a cost of $82,18 before the opening of the new York stock exchange, setting a record drop in April. In the end, according to the Agency Bloomberg, the day the market capitalization of the Corporation declined by $4.13 billion. what is Happening on the securities market was a direct reflection of public reaction to such a risky move — some defiantly burned the products of Nike, calling the heads of traitors, while others supported a manufacturer of sportswear. But, as so often happens, the opponents were much more noticeable.
In social networks with unprecedented speed gained popularity hashtags #BoycottNike (“Boycott Nike), and #JustBurnIt (“Just burn it”) with a reference to the slogan. There are many videos, which burn, cut and other ways to get rid of the company’s products. “First, the NFL forced me to choose between their favorite sport and my country, — wrote one of the users of social networks. Now Nike is forcing me to choose between your favorite shoes and country. Since when is the American flag and the national anthem began insulting?”
Most hated player in the USA
Perhaps Kapernick still would be known to a very narrow circle of people, if not for his active civil position. Popularity of a player with a similar with a famous scientist name and a giant Afro on his head went far beyond the world of sport in 2016, after the publicity of another story of police killing unarmed African-American. In the third preseason game, backup quarterback “San Francisco” was seen sitting on the bench during the execution of the US national anthem in protest against racial discrimination in the country. The action attracted the attention of the American public, and divided it into two camps: some athlete was accused of lack of patriotism, others came to his side. Talked about this and the results of surveys E-Poll Marketing Research before the start of the season. According to Kapernick became the most hated player in the NFL (29%), whereas a few months before the events, he scored 6% in the same survey. At the same time, among African Americans his popularity increased from 16% to 42%.
Kapernick has not receded even after meeting with a former colleague and commando Nate Boyer, but in the next game during the execution of the Star-Spangled Banner (“the star-spangled Banner”) the player took a knee. Thus, according to the athlete, he during the campaign tried to show more respect to former and current U.S. military. For a quarterback, “San Francisco” was followed by other athletes, regardless of skin color and sport it during the anthem got up on one knee and raised a fist up in the style of Tommy Smith and John Carlos at the Olympics in 1968.
Kapernick received the approval of many celebrities, including, for example, musicians Stevie wonder, Roger waters, and at the time US President Barack Obama. “I do not doubt his sincerity. It addresses real problems which need to talk,” said Obama. And in the first weeks after protests t-shirts game not the star player came in first place in sales on the official NFL website.
At the same time, we had many critics — the conservative party, a member of the U.S. Supreme court Ruth Bader Ginsburg, the eminent African-American boxer Floyd Maywether, Junior or hockey coach John Tortorella, who promised his players at the team USA before the match against the Russians at the world Cup — 2016 eternal place on the bench if they are doing something similar.
This story has also caused confusion among representatives of the Ministry of defense. The tradition of performing the national anthem before each match of the NFL was born after the Second world war, but until 2008 the only players with rare exception, left the locker room before the ceremony. In 2009 the League without announcing reasons, ordered the clubs to lead the players onto the field before the anthem. According to published in 2015, the Senate report John McCain and Jeff Flack about the so-called “paid patriotism,” only in 2012-2015, the Ministry of defense has allocated $6.8 million to 50 club of leading sports leagues. In exchange, the team was obliged to conduct the ceremony, the anthem of respect to those killed in wars, veterans, military and other events. The document said nothing about the behavior of the players during the anthem. However, a number of clubs, according to U.S. media, receive funding at the exemplary conduct of the ceremony.
In turn, the leadership of the NFL adhered to a neutral position, noting that the rules are not spelled out the responsibility of the players to stand during the national anthem. It was not until the arrival of the White house of Donald trump. He literally waged war against sportsmen-activists, most of whom represented the African-American population of the United States. Trump demanded that the sports leagues and clubs are severely punished “for disrespecting the flag, the anthem and the country” up to and including dismissal. Subsequently, the football players and basketball players, many of whom are African Americans began to abandon the traditional presidential receptions champion teams, in response, the head of the state simply abolished these events, which happened only in emergency situations.
With the advent of the tramp to the power of protest swept the entire NFL, having different goals — the fight against the President of the United States. So, 8 October 2017 during the anthem before the match “Indiana” — “San Francisco” most of the players took a knee. And there is action in the eyes of the Vice-President and Michael Penny, who in turn left the podium. A year later, trump got his way: first a number of NFL clubs have threatened its players with significant fines and dismissal for such actions, then the penalty clause prescribed and the League itself.
The main troublemaker immediately after 2016 left the team and still not found a new one. According to insiders, Kapernick became persona non grata in the League. The player was eventually sued the NFL, accusing the team of conspiring to prevent his return to the field. The leadership of the League and the clubs in turn strongly refute these allegations, noting that he is not suited for sporting reasons. But the court in August accepted the player’s documents, noting that sufficient evidence for filing a lawsuit.
Amid the Patriotic-populist rhetoric trump the hostility of the public to the athletes to activists increased, and Kapernick in the eyes of the conservative part of the population appeared almost the main enemy of the nation. Haters, whenever possible, contrasted his soldiers, “who shed blood for the flag”.
Following the statement “in one place — an outcast, another — hero”, Kapernick became liberal society, opponents of the trump one of the main antagonists of the President and a fighter for human rights in the United States, having donned the superhero costume. For example, in November 2017, GQ magazine named him “Citizen of the year”, and in April 2018 30-year-old native of Milwaukee was declared the winner of the most prestigious awards of the human rights organization Amnesty International “Ambassador of conscience”, standing in a row with former South African President Nelson Mandela and leader of the musical group U2, Bono.
Just do it
“Believe in something, even if I have to sacrifice everything,” — said in a promotional video with the participation of Copernica. In the end, two years after the beginning of the player activist activities Nike did it, putting on the map, if not all, a lot.
With the slogan “Just do it” Nike became one of the symbols of sports. When competitor companies in the North American market — Reebok — in the decade of aerobics preferred beautiful commercials and billboards with a haunting message from the “buy”, the brainchild of Phil knight and bill Bowerman in 1988 launched one of the world’s first motivational advertising campaigns urging people of all ages to move from words to action and sports, not to buy anything. To understand, what is it like to Just do it at 80-90, you can remember the romantic Comedy “What women want” (What Women Want), where the hero Mel Gibson after gaining super-powers, demonstrates to customers from Nike roller with a running woman.
Nike has repeatedly supported the rebels. That only is runner Steve Prefontaine — rock star, James Dean of athletics, collecting stadiums and challenged the established long-term system in this sport. But Kapernick, unlike Prefontaine, does not have such unconditional support from the population. The company has signed a multi-year football sponsorship deal long before this story broke and not after the protests began, but ceased to mention it in their advertising campaigns.
The situation is somewhat similar to what happens in Scottish football, where sponsors often have to sign contracts with two leading clubs, Celtic and Rangers, not to turn against themselves, respectively, the Catholic or the Protestant part of the community. Nike simply feared the wrath of the conservative part of the population and in this regard did not dare to identify himself with the person who actually put the equal sign between racism and the stars and stripes. But, for example, in contrast to the situation with the Russian tennis player Maria Sharapova, where the agreement was simply suspended in connection with doping history, Kapernick continued to receive sponsorship contributions and was even supported by the manufacturer of sports clothes and shoes. in his statement on constitutional rights of the citizens of the country.
Although many experts heralded the jubilee campaign’s success, in the early days it even out of the question. Calls for a boycott were not empty words and sometimes implemented even at the level of municipalities. In particular, the municipality of Kenneth, the largest suburb of New Orleans (Louisiana), banned from schools and government agencies to purchase products of the manufacturer. Then, a number of schools conservative States without the adoption of relevant laws refused products from leading North American sports brand. And the picture with the pastors who in different ways destroy the company’s products, the second week has already become commonplace.
Not long in coming and the reaction of the President of the United States. “Outrage and boycotts just killing Nike. I wonder if they thought about it?” — tweeted trump, who, however, did not provide evidence of the poor state of Affairs of the Corporation. The White house subsequently again spoke on the subject, criticizing also the NFL.
But if the trump position was clear long ago, the silent leadership of the NFL brought some uncertainty and clearly played into the hands of Nike, because at stake was signed in March multi-year sponsorship agreement between the parties. And the news about the termination of the relationship would give the quotations of the Corporation powerful acceleration when falling. Still, the NFL is the leading North American organization with huge influence and an enviable TV ratings. And the League is unlikely to react positively to advertising one of the leading partners with a former player who took them to court, accusing him of foul play.
In the end, the NFL was limited to uninformative and neutral in its tone, a statement, which stated the commitment to “dialogue, understanding and unity”. “Problems of social justice, who raised Colin and other professional athletes, deserve our attention and action,” — said in the text.
However, not everything was so hopeless for Nike in the early days. The advertising campaign received very good response in the media, which analysts monetized in a profit of $163 million Soon on the background of galloping quotations and protests Nike reported an increase in sales for the first week after starting advertising by 31% compared to the same period last year. This news acted as a trigger and securities on 10 September soared to $1,9, almost recouping the losses of the seven-day ago. Growth continued September 11: the quotes almost reached the record level of $83,68.
Throughout the week, Nike and Kapernick did not descend from news reports. The media followed the financial situation of the Corporation is literally under a microscope, daily reporting any irrelevant data. Fueled the interest and comments of bystanders — from experts, to make predictions, to performers of country music, who translated the discussion to the plane of morality and patriotism.
Although it is too early to draw far-reaching conclusions, but it appears Nike made the right decision. Cooperation with the scandalous football player may not only move the position of the company, but also will strengthen them. In the near future promise to release a signature line of an athlete. And preparation for this event was a success — the limited edition shirts sold out on the website of the player just a few hours.
The expectations of analysts making statements about the success of the campaign in the long term, while justified. They justify their predictions of the target audience — about 66.6% of the customers Nike under 35 years old and represent all segments of the population, while critical, is configured mainly of the white population older than 40 years. However, a number of experts encourages the user not to deceive ourselves, as the effects of the boycott can not be felt before one or two years.