ABC Television Stations / YouTube Colin Kaepernick featured in Nike ...
ABC Television Stations / YouTube

Remember how racists all across America lost their minds when Nike announced in September that Colin Kaepernick would be the face of their “Just Do It” ad campaign? It’s sort of impossible to forget, since those very same racists took to social media right after to protest by burning Nike shoes and socks they’d already bought (go figure) and called Nike’s decision “disrespectful to the troops” and “un-American.”

Nike remained unbothered by the pushback. This is because the company was very clear about who its target audience was, and that wasn’t a bunch of idiots who were setting fire to their own clothes (some of whom did it while still wearing them). Nike was targeting a younger, more diverse demographic that hopefully had enough sense to keep buying Nike products, especially since its new spokesperson is an advocate for racial justice. Experts thought it might be a gamble for the company, but the payoff would remain to be seen.

It turns out, the gamble was worth it. In its first revenue report since Kaepernick became its newest brand ambassador, Nike has seen a major increase in sales. Ad Age reports:

For the quarter, Nike Inc. saw revenue increase 10 percent to $9.4 billion, led by a 14 percent rise in the Nike brand to $8.9 billion. Net income was also up 10 percent to $847 million.

The campaign also featured tennis champion and all-around amazing superstar Serena Williams, which the company says is a growth opportunity for targeting women in 2019. In fact, speaking to women directly and strategically is part of the brand strategy for next year. On a recent call discussing Nike’s newest earning, Nick Parker, the company’s chief executive, said, “As we head to the World Cup, you’re going to see ‘Just Do It’ with a big emphasis on women’s.”

A focus on women, an anti-racist activist athlete and advocate as a spokesperson, and a 20 percent increase in sales … sounds like Nike is doing just fine after all.

Too bad for all those sock- and shoe-burning racists out there.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.


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