Nike’s announcement that NFL player Colin Kaepernick would be the new face of its “Just Do It” campaign has generated more than $43 million in media exposure for the company, according to an advertising consulting group.
Bloomberg reported Tuesday, citing the Apex Marketing Group, that Nike received the free media exposure in the first 24 hours after it was revealed that Kaepernick would be the face of the "Just Do It" campaign’s 30th anniversary.
Apex Marketing Group found that Nike's announcement generated $19.01 million in positive media exposure, while $10.91 million was negative and $13.76 million was neutral.
Kaepernick has been under fire since he first took a knee during the playing of the national anthem at games in 2016 to protest racial injustice, with critics accusing him of disrespecting veterans and the American flag.
Bob Dorfman, a sports marketing executive at Baker Street Advertising, told Bloomberg that Nike did not take a financial risk with the controversial decision.
“It’s not a move that any company can make, but for Nike it’s definitely smart business,” Dorfman argued.
Former CIA Director John BrennanJohn Owen BrennanClinton lawyer's indictment reveals 'bag of tricks' Still in the game: Will Durham's report throw a slow curveball at key political players? UFOs are an intriguing science problem; Congress must act accordingly MORE was among the people who praised Kaepernick on Monday after the ad campaign kicked off, saying the athlete gave meaning to the Constitution by taking a knee during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.
Outrage over Nike’s decision to highlight Kaepernick prompted some customers to destroy their Nike products.
Jon Rich, a member of the country duo Big & Rich, tore into the company for making Kaepernick the new “face” of the brand.
"Hey @Nike I guess you made @Kaepernick7 your new 'face' of the brand because you love the way his socks look with your shoes?" Rich tweeted shortly after the announcement on Monday, referencing a pair of socks that Kaepernick once wore that depicted police offers as pigs. "@Reebok here we come."
Nike signed Kaepernick to an endorsement deal in 2011 and has maintained that contract since then, ESPN reported.
The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback became a free agent after kneeling during the 2016 NFL season. He has remained unsigned since then amid massive backlash.
The player filed a grievance last year accusing league owners of colluding to keep him off a team, and an arbitrator ruled last week that his case will go to trial.
President TrumpDonald TrumpKinzinger says Trump 'winning' because so many Republicans 'have remained silent' Our remote warfare counterterrorism strategy is more risk than reward Far-right rally draws small crowd, large police presence at Capitol MORE has frequently attacked Kaepernick and other players who have kneeled or stayed in the locker room during the national anthem.
The president suggested last month that players who protest during the anthem should be suspended without pay.