Nike – The Controversial Marketing Campaign

Credit: Mut Hardman /

Ex San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick has controversially been named to star in Nike’s new “Just Do It” 30th anniversary campaign. A few of you may already know who Kaepernick is and some of you may not, he was the NFL player who questionably refused to stand and instead knelt during the US national anthem back in 2016 in protest of police violence against African-Americans. This action provoked a mass divide between the American people as other NFL players began to jump on the bandwagon and follow Kaepernick which triggered US president, Donald Trump. In response to this, Trump labelled the players who disrespect the USA national flag “sons of bitches” and believed that they should be dismissed from their teams.

Nike have now chosen to take Kaepernick on board for their new advertising campaign. The advert shows Kaepernick’s face with the phrase, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” The vice president for branding in North America believes that “Colin is one of the most inspirational athletes of this generation, who has leveraged the power of sport to help move the world forward.

This marketing move from Nike has not gone down well with several USA nationals. They have been sharing their thoughts on social media by using the hashtags #JustBurnIt as a response to the slogan ‘Just Do It’, they are also using #BoycottNike.

As the ‘take a knee’ act has been a major topic over the last few years, Nike totally understood that this was going cause A LOT of controversy. However, this has got people talking and the word travelling around the USA, social media and large amounts of the world is Nike. Successful marketing campaign? We think so! As the old saying goes, ‘any publicity is good publicity’.