Colin Kaepernick Ad: Nike Stock Reaches All-Time High, LeBron James Reacts

Despite claims to the contrary, Nike's ad campaign with Colin Kaepernick has proven to be a success. In this picture, a Nike Ad featuring American football quarterback Kaepernick is on display in New York City, Sept. 8, 2018. Photo: ANGELA WEISS/AFP/Getty Images

By Abhinav Kini, International Business Times

Despite the backlash toward Nike for their ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, it continues to be a success as the sportswear company's stock closed Thursday with an all-time high of $83.47.

When the ad campaign was initially revealed by Kaepernick on Sept. 3, there was a predictable divide in the reception as while many praised Nike for standing by the quarterback, others poured their outrage on social media, with some even virally burning the company’s merchandise that they owned.

The following day, Nike's shares also dropped roughly 3 percent to $79.75, leading many detractors, including President Donald Trump, to later claim it was a horrible decision for them to endorse Kaepernick.

In reality, it has been anything but, as Thursday saw the closing stock price trump their previous all-time high of $83.00 on Wednesday.

With a current stock price of $83.47, it means the company is now valued at $133.6 billion and has seen a 30 percent rise in stock price in the calendar year so far as well as a 56 percent rise over the last 52 weeks, according to the Chicago Tribune.

As the Tribune's Phil Rosenthal further pointed out, there was no guarantee Nike shares will continue to rise but despite all the anger and boycotts, the campaign as well as the commercial featuring the likes of LeBron James, Serena Williams and others have proven not to be obstacles.

Speaking of James, the Los Angeles Lakers star responded to the news of Nike's stock price reaching an all-time high, seemingly taking a dig at Trump in the process, with the pair having gone at each other in the past.


The ad campaign has proven effective in many other areas as well.

For one, it generated $43 million in media exposure in the 24 hours following its unveiling. Online sales grew as well by "31 percent from the Sunday of Labor Day weekend through Tuesday, as compared with a 17 percent gain recorded for the same period of 2017."

In addition, a Harris Poll of 2,026 Americans released on ESPN showed while negative perception has increased, Nike benefited from the risk of alienating certain customers to appeal to their younger audience, with 29 percent of young males polled stating they would buy even more merchandise.


"Nike took a strategic risk to alienate some customers in order to appeal to their core base of 18- to 29-year old males," Harris Poll CEO John Gerzema told ESPN. "It was a calculated move to become a more polarizing brand, and it seems to have worked."

"Gen Z [13 to 22 years old] and millennials [22 to 34 years old] value companies that are socially active. The younger population approve of Nike's choice to use Colin Kaepernick."

According to Business Insider, a total of 15,191 investors also added Nike to their portfolios last week through Thursday, a 45 percent increase from the previous week.

While it will take a bit longer to assess the full impact of Nike's ad campaign, the early signs show it was the right decision.

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