Nike’s Long-Form Kaepernick Video Sparks Emotion – Good & Bad

Does your company want to take a social stance?

These days reaction to a new advertising campaign, or even a simple cell phone video, can move swiftly and fiercely through our fast-moving, all-encompassing media landscape.

Look no further than Nike’s new “Dream Crazy” campaign featuring former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The campaign kick-started with a simple tweet on a Monday afternoon. By that evening, social media was on fire. Support poured in for Kaepernick’s activism and for Nike taking a social stance on a hot button issue.

#BoycottNike and #JustBurnIt began trending worldwide.

Three days later, when the Super Bowl Champion Philadelphia Eagles raised their banner and took on the Atlanta Falcons during the hugely anticipated first game of the NFL season, Nike ran its first “Just Do It” ad featuring the controversial quarterback turned activist. This two-minute long-form video, narrated by Kaepernick, aired during the first commercial break of the third quarter.

It was one – if not the biggest – most divisive, riskiest, and public social stances a major company like Nike has ever taken. It was a big move. Very big. Their decision (which as it turned out was two years in planning) absolutely consumed social media and the airwaves. People began burning their sneakers. The President commented on it. Hundreds of parody memes began circling the internet. A Missouri college dropped Nike as its uniform supplier.

But just one week later, Nike’s online sales were up 31% and its target audiences – the younger, more diverse generations – were energized.

Sprout Social’s “Championing Change in the Age of Social Media” report states “two-thirds of consumers (66%) say it’s important for brands to take public stands on social and political issues, and more than half (58%) are open to this happening on social media – the top channel for consumer receptivity.”

On the other hand, perform a search for “Nike” or the #BoycottNike hashtag on Twitter and you will come across many posts and opinion pieces stating Nike should just “stick to sports.”

I’m not writing this piece to advocate for one side or the other on this issue. I will say that, as a video, the Kaepernick “Dream Crazy” long-form ad, whether you appreciated its message or not, was beautifully produced, struck emotional chords and effectively delivered Nike’s message – without any imagery of kneeling or political infighting mind you.

Whether you’re interested in taking a social stance or not, effective storytelling is what gets your message across. Is there an idea or platform you want to explore? Is there a stance you want to take? Contact MediaVision and we’ll help you share your story.


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