Nike Takes On Colin Kaepernick in New Campaign

By: Valeria Ramos

Despite no longer being employed by the NFL, Colin Kaepernick has scored a new deal with Nike for their iconic Just Do It ad campaign. The former San Francisco 49ers player, who is no stranger to headlines and controversy, is the face of a new Nike shoe and apparel line of which proceeds will go to Kaepernick's Know Your Rights campaign. 

Photo: Getty Images

Kaepernick is one of a number of athletes that are a part of Nike's 30th anniversary Just Do It campaign. Others include Serena Williams, Lacey Baker and LeBron James. While the campaign seems to have generated positive buzz on social media, the company's shares fell the morning after the campaign was released. 

Due to Kaepernick's choice to kneel during the anthem to protest racial injustice and social inequality, backlash from the ad was expected. However, with 2/3 of Nike's consumers being under the age of 34, this campaign's target audience is obviously the millennial generation. 

Photo: Handout/Reuters 

Kaepernick has filed a grievance against the NFL claiming the 32 teams collaborated to keep him unsigned because of his political views. This ongoing legal battle might affect the campaign's success, but most people are inspired by Kaepernick's story and by Nike's choice to stand by him regardless of public opinion. 

In an interview with CNBC, designer Zac Posen shared his support for Nike's decision to work with Kaepernick. 

"It's important for corporations to take risks," said Posen "It's upholding an American value system of freedom of speech and opinion."

Fashion and politics have increasingly crossed over and this ad campaign is no exception. Nike's choice to give Kaepernick a platform despite the risk of backlash proves their goal is not just to sell clothes, but to send a message.