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Nike enjoys 31 percent bump in online sales after debut of Kaepernick campaign

Nike returned to a tradition of controversial advertisements when revealing Colin Kaepernick, the polarizing former NFL quarterback, as a face of a major new marketing campaign during the 30th anniversary of its iconic "Just Do It" slogan. (Kyle Johnson/Copyright 2018 The New York Times)

Colin Kaepernick has been a lightning rod for controversy ever since he made his decision to bring attention to police brutality two seasons ago when, as the starting quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers, he began taking a knee during the national anthem. So it came as no surprise that when Nike recently unveiled it's new "Dream Crazy" campaign, passionate reactions from consumers across the globe took hold.

Responses to the ads sparked debate about whether Nike had bitten off more than it could chew when the company decided to make its relationship with Kaepernick public or had simply made a good business decision.

But a new report from Edison Trends, a top advertising research firm, shows that Nike's new commercial pushed all the right buttons. According to the report, following a brief decline, the shoe giant's online sales grew 31 percent which was substantially better than 2017's 17 percent increase during that same time period.

"There was speculation that the Nike/Kaepernick campaign would lead to a drop in sales, but our data over the last week does not support that theory," Hetal Pandya, co-founder of Edison Trends, told Marketwatch.com.

Nike's campaign, which celebrates the 30th anniversary of Nike's iconic "Just Do It" mantra, includes an ad comprised of a black and white photo of Colin Kaepernick, with the words, "Believe In something. Even if it means sacrificing everything," as well as a 90-second commercial featuring numerous video clips of well-known athletes like LeBron James and Serena Williams, accompanied by a voice-over and appearance from Kaepernick himself.

"Dream Crazy" has been watched over 16 million times on YouTube and has garnered nearly 15 thousand comments

The positive impact on sales should come as no surprise to Nike or anyone else. Kaepernick's 49ers jersey has continued to rank among the best-selling ones in the league despite his remaining unsigned.

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This article was written by Tramel Raggs, a reporter for The Washington Post.

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