Nike shares erase losses as online sales rise after debut of Kaepernick ad campaign

How does the saying go? “Get woke, go broke”?

What if the truth is more like, “Take a knee, sales spree“?

Or “Cop-pig socks, higher stocks”?

“America sucks, big bucks.” The numbers don’t lie:

Following Nike’s Monday afternoon debut of the latest iteration of their “Just Do It” campaign, featuring Colin Kaepernick, fan discontent and boycott threats have grabbed headlines – and even commentary from the President. But the research confirms that, at least for now, the company is suffering no negative repercussions in sales.

Both this year and last year, online sales of Nike products across the web hit a low point on Sunday of Labor Day weekend, rising again on Monday and Tuesday. But this year, they climbed 31% between Sunday and Tuesday, besting 2017’s 17%.

That’s surprising given the recent market survey that showed the brand’s favorability declining in every demographic, including Nike customers, after the Kaep campaign began. All the market cares about is the bottom line, though, not polls. Which is why (as of noon ET) the hit Nike took to its stock a few days after the initial backlash to the ad campaign is now all but undone:

Check the six-month chart for Nike shares and you’ll see that the recent two-dollar dip was water off a duck’s back. Nike was trading in the mid- to high 60s as recently as four months ago. It rose 25 percent or so over the summer and has been holding at that price, even amid the Kaep controversy. They might have gambled on a Kaepernick ad campaign precisely because they’ve been doing so well lately, figuring they could absorb the blow financially even if their bet didn’t pay off.

I wonder how much the reversal of fortune is a reaction to the first ad in the campaign, which was solid if standard “follow your dreams” Nike fare and conspicuously light on politics. For all the hype lately about right-wingers burning their Air Jordans and seeking to virtue-signal by wriggling out of deals with Nike, left-wingers have shown some disgruntlement too. What’s the point of featuring Colin Kaepernick in an ad campaign, they’ve wondered, if you’re not going to even mention his cause? For the moment, it’s not so much that Nike has joined Kaep’s mission to end police brutality as that Kaep has joined Nike’s mission to sell sneakers. Maybe that’s why the shares are stable.