'This is what a brand with powerful purpose looks like': PR pros on Nike's Kaepernick gamble

Industry pros on social media are mostly applauding Nike's embrace of the polarizing quarterback.

Photo credit: Getty Images
Photo credit: Getty Images

Nike’s 30th anniversary campaign is largely being applauded by marketing and PR pros on social media for featuring quarterback Colin Kaepernick.

A photo of Kaepernick, the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, is featured in Nike’s campaign with the caption, "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything."

Kaepernick began kneeling during the pregame playing of the national anthem in 2016 to raise awareness about police brutality against African-Americans. He has not been signed by a team since the end of that season. Kaepernick has sued the league’s owners, accusing them of colluding to keep him unsigned.

The ad has garnered an increase of Nike brand mentions by 135% compared with the previous week, with a mix of positive and negative mentions, according to social media analytics firm Talkwalker. There have been more than 2.7 million mentions of Nike since Monday, a 1,400% increase compared with the previous day, according to Talkwalker.

The top social posts about Nike’s campaign came from tennis star Serena Williams, which got more than 178,000 engagements; Los Angeles Laker Kyle Kuzma, whose tweet garnered more than 43,000 engagements; YouTuber Casey Neistat, whose tweet got more than 85,000 engagements; and a tweet from sports reporter Jemele Hill that received 76,000 engagements.

While the campaign has prompted backlash from consumers who do not agree with Kaepernick’s stance, PR and marketing pros largely said on Twitter that the campaign is "brilliant." Here is what 11 industry pros said on the platform about Nike’s move.

Not everyone loved Nike’s latest campaign. Here’s what others had to say about its embrace of Kaepernick.

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