September 10, 2018 By FTI Consulting
Believe in brand exposure, even if it means sacrificing share price. This week, Nike rolled out one of its most divisive campaigns yet. For those who may not know, Colin Kaepernick was the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem to highlight racial injustice in America. He is now at the centre of Nike’s 30th anniversary celebration of the “Just Do It” slogan. The company’s share price fell as much as 3.9 percent on Tuesday, people set fire to their own trainers whilst others fashioned themselves a pair of baggy protest socks (a much more sensible display of remonstration than kneeling)
So when President Trump asked whether the company had any idea the reaction would be this way, the answer is probably a resounding yes. In the 24 hours following Colin Kaepernick’s tweet which first revealed the ad, Nike received more than $43 million worth of media exposure. Of which less than $11m was negative.
Michael Jordan once said he “stayed out of politics because Republicans buy shoes too”. The difference here is that Nike knows its demographic. Research has shown “people want brands to take stands on important issues”. Nowhere is that more apt than amongst millennials and Generation Z – the social media generation. Brands can clearly benefit from rolling the dice. Just not all brands, looking at you Papa John’s.
It certainly felt like it when John Lewis aired their new advert, linking them and Waitrose as part of their huge rebrand. We’re seasonally confused, feeling fuzzy inside, not to mention impressed by the move to retain their TV ad crown.
While Aired live during #GBBO, the advert was picked up by the Bake Off social chatter wave and accumulated over 1 million views on Twitter. Not bad for a school play. We appreciated their tongue-in-cheek tweets scattered across their feed, including a thank you to @JohnLewis, a man who replies to most of their customer complaints…. All in all, a great example of emotive content and nicely thought out audience engagement, although this product might give our IT team nightmares.
Could you live without social media for a month? A new campaign launched this month by the Royal Society for Public Health, thinks you can. In fact, an estimated 320,000 have pledged to quit or decrease their use of social platforms and general screen time (trust us, it was all over Twitter).
Whilst we’re not feeling too chipper about the apparent attack on our livelihood, it’s an interesting development as platforms face increasing demands to regulate the Wild West of the internet (+ see last week’s Friday Download), and some consumers are even taking matters into their own hands. Increasingly, brands and corporates are looking for ways to get their audiences to be active, rather than passive, consumers. These issues challenge us to ask how we can do more with less, and empower audiences to engage and stop mindlessly scrolling.