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Is This Nike’s Most Controversial Advertisement Campaign Yet?

By Rana Banankhah, Reporter

“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” That is the caption of one of Nike’s most controversial ads by far. The advertisement is a head shot of Colin Kaepernick, a former NFL player, with the words “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything” inscribed in the center of the photo. The caption refers to the protest he started by kneeling during the national anthem. It protested “systematic oppression,” and advocated for racial equality and social justice. Others disapproved, arguing that it disrespects the American flag and our armed forces. Some even went as far as to burn or destroy their Nike merchandise due to the campaign. Nevertheless, Kaepernick sacrificed his entire football career and life’s work for standing, or kneeling in his case, for what he truly believed in, which is the message of the ad.  Surprisingly, despite the controversy, Nike’s online sales reportedly jumped thirty one percent since the ad was released and their stock has actually risen about one percent. The campaign follows Nike’s bold moves in the world of social activism. Just last year, Nike released a sports hijab for female, Muslim athletes.

When asked about his opinion about the campaign, freshman Giovanni Loveday replied, “I think [this] kinda shows Nike’s views on the situation.” He later went on to add that one’s reaction depends on that person’s personal opinion and view on the protests. Sophomore Arshaun Faraji said, “Wear Adidas.” His brief, but to-the-point statement implies that he doesn’t quite agree with Nike’s decision.

Nonetheless, Nike is probably going to be one of many companies to serve a “social purpose,” according to Larry Fink, the head of BlackRock, one of the largest money management companies in the world. “Society is demanding that companies, both public and private, serve a social purpose,” he wrote in an open letter. “To prosper over time, every company must not only deliver financial performance, but also show how it makes a positive contribution to society.” Overall, this ad is likely the first of many to come from Nike and companies that addresses social issues and advocates for social reform.

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Is This Nike’s Most Controversial Advertisement Campaign Yet?