Just why did Nike decide to do it?

A few days back, Nike unveiled its newest promotional advertisement, featuring Colin Kaepernick, the polarizing NFL player known primarily for kneeling during the national anthem as a sign of protest against social injustice.

The ad features Kaepernick’s face, with the statement “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” and Nike’s signature phrase of “Just do it.”

Some folks reacted by setting fire to any shoes and clothing baring the Nike logo, swearing off anything produced by the company.

There also have been a large collection of internet memes produced to parody the advertisement, featuring various popular culture figures, including Marvel Comics, characters from “The Office,” Star Wars, Mike Tyson, O.J. Simpson, Winnie the Pooh, and Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski.

So, with all the “negative” reports and those online making fun of it, why would Nike take such a risk and use Kaepernick to represent their company?

Think about it this way. When was the last time you can remember this much of the nation, or the world for that matter, talking about Nike?

Even when the latest model of shoe for whatever major athlete they’re working with at the time is released, Nike doesn’t get this much publicity.

It hasn’t for years. Not since the days of Jordan has there been a true national clamor about the company.

We know it’s there, we know there are shoes released each year. We know some of them are connected with athletes and are going to cost a few hundred dollars, while others are less prominant and will still cost around $90 or so.

I can understand the people who say they will no longer purchase Nike products. They don’t agree with how Kaepernick went about expressing his message.

The problem is that the consumer in us all is a fickle beast. We get accustomed to using or wearing a certain brand of product. We know there are shoes that serve the same purpose and cost much less, but we continue to look for that favored style or company.

We may be tossing our shoes, shirts and pants away now (I would actually have suggested donating them to a clothes closet or related charitable organization), but at some point, we’re going to find ourselves going back because we, for some reason, don’t feel satisfied with something else.

In fact, reports this weekend have indicated online sales for Nike already have increased since the ad was released.

It will be interesting to see what sales from brick-and-mortar locations do in the coming weeks.

I’m willing to bet sales won’t be hurting as much as some out there would like to see.

We need to remember the entire goal of an advertising campaign is to get us talking about the product, and then convince at least some of us to purchase that product.

If we like the product, we keep going back and that controversial advertisement is forgotten after a while.

Whether it is Nike, Pepsi, Carl’s Jr or Nationwide, there are many companies which have put some type of ad out there which has turned people away…at least for a little while.

Those companies are still around, though.

However, we may feel about the Kaepernick advertisement, the promotion has done exactly what it was designed to do.

You’re talking about Nike. Just as you talk about the latest major blockbuster movie, a major sports franchise, some controversial actor or musician or other brand new thing.

You may love it, you may hate it, but it’s in your head and it won’t be going anywhere anytime soon.

That’s why Nike decided to just do it.

(Howell, a resident of Colliers, is managing editor of The Weirton Daily Times, and can be contacted at chowell@weirtondailytimes.com or followed on Twitter @CHowellWDT)

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