It is absolutely baffling that a clanger of this magnitude was able to seamlessly slip through the net without relevant research and you can only imagine that heads will be rolling in the Nike marketing department.
The brand famously stood by Colin Kaepernick during his clashes with Donald Trump when they butted heads over the national anthem – to then show a lack of research into the ways this flag has been used is simply astounding.
During the period of standing next to Kaepernick, Nike saw mass boycotts; products being burned and a drop in sales and shares, but regardless it stood by its man and didn’t apologise.
However, this is a campaign that could have huge ramifications across the US: state senators are already getting involved, with Texas Senator Ted Cruz calling the sports brand "unpatriotic" and Arizona Senator Doug Ducey said that "instead of celebrating American history… Nike has apparently decided that Betsy Ross is unworthy, and has bowed to the current onslaught of political correctness and historical revisionism."
These two statements alone are ridiculous – obviously everyone has different beliefs, but sometimes it is better to bite the bullet, admit your mistakes and move on, and this could be the best route for Nike, otherwise they face a similar reaction to the one they faced during Kaepernick’s campaigns.
There is no way that this design should have been able to make it through to the stage where it was accessible by the public.
Admittedly, the flag does play a big part in American culture but since its original good intentions it has been used for other means that no brand would want to be associated with.
Normally Nike is spot on with the way it approaches political situations but on this occasion, they have fallen foul to being blissfully unaware of the ways the flag has been used and for this, they could pay a big price.
This certainly has the potential to be a case study in the coming years for budding PR and Marketing professionals.
Andy Barr is CEO of 10 Yetis Digital