Texans weigh in on Nike's Kaepernick ad

Posted at 9:26 PM, Sep 06, 2018
and last updated 2018-09-06 22:26:31-04

People continue sounding off on the controversial new Nike advertising campaign, one that centers on a very controversial figure in sports.

New ads featuring former San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick have debuted starting a debate from coast to coast.

Nike has always chosen top athletes to promote its brand, like LeBron James and Serena Williams, but now it's gone with an athlete known more for his controversial political stand.

Experts call Nike's move a tried-and-true marketing strategy, but one that comes with risks to the company's bottom line.

The choice of controversial NFL player Colin Kaepernick has lots of people talking.

Many don't like the movement he started. Kneeling for the national anthem, a move that cost him his job.

But Isaac Garcia of San Antonio doesn't mind a bit.

"I don't think it's a disgrace to the flag. Like I said, it's my opinion. I'm a retired Army veteran with 20 years of service," Garcia said.

Waco public relations executive Liz Anderson describes Nike's reasoning as simple.

“What makes a good campaign, especially on the PR side, is a good news story. It's real people. So, you have Colin Kaepernick, who is a real person and you have controversy,” Anderson said.

At the same time, Nike risks dividing its loyal customers.

“I think it's a bold move. I feel like they're segmenting their market by doing so, but obviously, they felt strongly enough to support him,” said Kaylin Blancas, a Baylor student from Houston.

But many people feel strongly enough to protest the move. Even President Trump, a vocal critic of the anthem protests, chimed in tweeting "Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts."

“There's an ethical question that comes into play, right? Like, if you can support the company and their values and their purpose and what they're trying to do,” Blancas said.

Baylor University, a Nike partner, has not shared an opinion so far on the new ad campaign.

It doesn't seem to have hurt Nike. On Thursday, the company's stock closed almost 50 cents at more than $80 a share.

“In just a matter of days, they already have $50 million in publicity in free news stories just like this one,” said Anderson.

Something Nike hopes will translate into buzz and sales.

“I currently have Nikes on, so I mean, that will not keep me from buying Nikes,” said Garcia.

Nike's new ad campaign debuted during Thursday night's NFL season opener. It will also show during the U.S. Open and Major League Baseball games.

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