President Donald Trump has made his name from sales of everything from suits to steak, but this is his first time selling sneakers — even though that probably wasn’t his intention.
Nike sales jumped by 31 percent after debuting quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick as a new company spokesman — and market observers say the president’s public displays of anger may have backfired by drawing more attention to Nike.
According to data from Edison Trends, online sales of Nike products jumped 31 percent between the Sunday before and the Tuesday after Labor Day, nearly double last year’s 17 percent increase over the same time period. Kaepernick is part of Nike’s 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” tagline. A TV ad narrated by Kaepernick debuted Thursday on the opening night of the regular NFL season.
“Nike is a company that is focused on younger generations and expanding their market. This ad did that for them,” said Hetal Pandya, co-founder of Edison Trends.
But if Trump is no stranger to controversy, neither is Nike. The company’s decision to use Kaepernick, who is currently claiming the league colluded against his employment in a lawsuit, isn’t the first time the athletic apparel company has used its brand platform to advocate for a cause or push for social change. Previous ad campaigns have taken on AIDS, gender inequality, disabilities, religion, and other cultural flashpoints.
“The brand has a rich history of positioning itself as a progressive company that connects with its customers through conflict constructive conflict,” Pandya told NBC News.