Despite an initial hit on Wall Street and an assortment of bans and boycotts, Nike reported a 31-percent spike in sales since signing former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kapernick as its newest face of the “Just Do It” campaign.
Critics including the president have slammed the brand for celebrating Kaepernick, who sparked ongoing demonstrations against racial inequality and police violence.
Some marketing experts believe the intrusion of Donald Trump and others into the national debate might have helped Nike by amplifying the controversy.
“In this case, controversy is a good thing to their target market,” said Marshal Cohen of the market research firm The NPD Group. “Consumers who are most likely to shop online, and shop athletic apparel and footwear, are very much in tune with the movement and the willingness for a mega-brand to stand up against the establishment.”