Donald Trump asked what Nike was thinking when the outspoken president took to Twitter to express his thoughts on the company’s decision to make an ad featuring the controversial ex-quarterback. A recent poll might provide some insight into the success of Nike’s ad campaign. The poll shows that young Americans support Nike’s decision to have the former San Francisco 49er quarterback as the focus of their 30th anniversary campaign.
The SSRS Omnibus poll showed that 44% of those between the ages of 18 and 34 agreed with Nike’s decision while 32% were against it. The poll also showed that their decision met the approval of 52% of those people in the 35 to 44 age group.
A mere 26% of those aged 65 or older approved. However, those older folks aren’t Nike’s customer base. Around two-thirds of Nike’s customers are under 35 years-old says Matt Powell who is a sports retail analyst.
Kaepernick became a controversial figure when he began kneeling during the national anthem in an attempt to protest police brutality and racial injustice. In the Nike ad, Kaepernick tells viewers to “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything”. The ad made its debut during a Thursday night NFL broadcast.
Ad Sparked Controversy
As could be expected, the ad sparked plenty of backlash from those who believe that his anthem protests were disrespectful. Social media platforms were flooded with pictures of people cutting up and burning their Nike gear and calling for a boycott of Nike. Despite the outrage, the boycott proved ineffective and had no bearing on how half of America felt about the company. In fact, Nike’s stock is up since the ad aired and sales are reportedly up by 31% according to Edison Trends.
The ad seems to have hit home with Nike’s core customers and it has improved Nike’s relationships with other sponsored athletes like LeBron James. Investment analyst Camilo Lyon said that Nike’s well-planned move was a “subtle but significant” indication of the company’s strength.
A Nation Divided
A plurality poll found that 41% of respondents were against Nike choosing Kaepernick as the face of the campaign while 37% opposed the decision. Results showed that 68% of African-Americans were in favour of the decision while just 16% opposed it. The poll also revealed a sharp divide between among Republicans who opposed it at a rate of 74% while 64% of Democrats supported it. SSRS conducted the poll between September 4th and 9th and 1,008 randomly selected adults participated.