Why Nike Favorability Rebounds After Kaepernick Campaign

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Nike Inc. (NYSE: NKE) faced some tough criticism and reactionary setbacks to its reputation when it initially announced former quarterback Colin Kaepernick as the face of its new “Just Do It” campaign. However, a new report from Morning Consult found that the apparel company’s standing has now rebounded among its core demographics.

Following the initial Kaepernick announcement, Nike’s net favorability dropped 34 points in two days, from a net favorable rating of +69 on September 3 to a +35 by September 5. Now, Nike is slowly bouncing back, with its current net favorability standing at +39 as of Tuesday, an increase from +28 on September 12, its lowest mark since Morning Consult began tracking the company in October 2016.

Separately, “purchasing consideration” is seeing a stronger return to its pre-announcement numbers. Currently, the number stands at 62%, down just seven points from its pre-campaign level of 69% on September 3.

Along the demographic lines, the survey noted that African-American consumers saw a notable jump of 15 percentage points, with 55% of respondents reporting they are “absolutely certain” they will purchase a product. More young adults, urban residents and those who voted for Hillary Clinton in the 2016 presidential election also said they are “absolutely certain” they would buy from Nike compared to when the ad campaign was first announced.

On the other hand, people who voted for Trump, white people, those who live in rural communities and consumers older than 65 are less likely to buy Nike merchandise. Purchasing sentiment by Trump voters showed a notable decline, with 37% saying they might buy a product from the retailer, down 31 percentage points from Septe,ber 3.

Eunkyu Lee, associate dean for global initiatives and professor of marketing at Syracuse University, commented on Nike:

In general, people are really increasing their expectations for companies and brands to show their true selves and take a stance on sometimes controversial or sensitive social issues. I think many companies have been trying to do that in recent years.

Shares of Nike traded at $85.75 on Wednesday, having overrun the consensus analyst price target of $84.05. The 52-week trading range was $50.35 to $85.85 on last look.