How Nike incorporated social prominence into its marketing


On September 3, 2018, a single tweet drew a line in the sand. A close up of Colin Kaepernick’s face, with the words: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.

Scheduled to mark the start of the 2018/2019 NFL season and celebrate the 30th anniversary of the “Just Do It” slogan, the message and accompanying advertising video have lit up cultural discourse like no advertisement in recent memory. Here’s arguably the most popular sportswear company on the planet alongside one of the world’s most controversial athletes. The message was clear: the swoosh would be on the side of anti-racism.

Following the murder of George Floyd last year, the society reversed its slogan to read “For once, don’t do it,” addressing the ongoing protests and systemic racism in America. These white letters on a dark or black background embodied a message consistent with Nike’s past efforts around social issues, such as the “Equality” spot from 2017 or “Never Stop Winning” from 2019 in favor of the women’s national soccer team. United States and gender equality.

“It doesn’t matter how many people hate your brand as long as enough people love it,” Knight said. fast business in 2018. “And as long as you have that attitude, you can’t be afraid to offend people. You can’t try to go down the middle of the road. You have to take a stand on something, which is ultimately, I think, why the Kaepernick ad worked.

Knight’s take on Kaepernick’s advertising has become the brand’s playbook as it continues to view a young and diverse audience as its primary client, and then act on it. Just as the 2020 European Championship football tournament kicked off in June 2021, Nike released a one-off “The Land of New Football” call, which featured a long list of inclusive characters – gay, straight, black, white and everyone in between. It showed that the joy of sports should be for everyone, without exception.

In this interview for The Work in Progress video series, fast business spoke with Nike’s Vice President of Diversity and Inclusion, Jarvis Sam, and the company’s Vice President of Marketing, Melanie Auguste, about how taking a stand on social issues has become crucial to the company’s award-winning marketing.

WATCH: How Nike is staying ahead with its socially responsible marketing


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