NEW YORK (BLOOMBERG) - Online sales of Nike apparel and shoes surged in the four days after quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick became the face of a new advertising campaign. Sales dipped in the same four-day period last year.
Nike's Kaepernick ad debuted on Monday afternoon, a US holiday, drawing immediate praise and ire from celebrities and customers alike.
From Sunday through Wednesday, product orders rose 27 per cent, according to digital-commerce researcher Edison Trends, which collects receipt data from over 200 online vendors.
In the same four-day period last year, product orders dropped 2 per cent.
It's an early, if incomplete, look at how the world's largest sportswear company may fare after deliberately wading into a hot political topic.
The decision to feature the former NFL player - he claims he has been illegally barred from the league for kneeling during the national anthem to protest racial inequality - has already drawn multiple criticisms from President Donald Trump.
On Friday morning (Sept 7), Trump tweeted: "What was Nike thinking?"
It's not a big mystery. Nike believes that the campaign will create more business than it loses. Two-thirds of Nike's customers are younger than 35, and it's an ethnically diverse group. The company is also looking to focus more on cities. The demographic mix also suggest outsize support for Kaepernick's actions.
If the company miscalculated, it probably won't be obvious for a long time.
The short-term data from Edison Trends includes both customers who went out and bought Nike gear to explicitly support the campaign as well as those for whom the ad made no difference.
It doesn't account for past Nike customers who say they will never buy the company's shoes or apparel again. That impact on sales could take years to fully play out.
Nike stock dipped 3.2 per cent in the first day of trading after the ad was revealed.
It's since rebounded a bit. Its US$80.36 price on Friday afternoon was about 2.2 per cent below its pre-Kaepernick level.