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Colin Kaepernick 'Just Do It' Ad Sparks Nike Boycott

NEW YORK (CBS Local) – Nike's long-running "Just Do It" campaign is geared toward getting consumers to pay attention to the brand, but analysts say its decision to add Colin Kaepernick as a new face of the campaign comes with risks.

colin kaepernick 885047880 Colin Kaepernick Just Do It Ad Sparks Nike Boycott Honoree Colin Kaepernick speaks onstage at ACLU SoCal Hosts Annual Bill of Rights Dinner at the Beverly Wilshire Four Seasons Hotel on December 3, 2017 in Beverly Hills, California. (credit: Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images)

Shares of the shoe and apparel giant dropped about three percent in pre-market trading after the company announced that the unsigned free agent, who is known for kneeling during the national anthem to bring attention to racial injustices, would join the company's signature campaign. Other players also kneeled during the anthem, spurring criticism from President Trump.

Nike is certainly provoking debate by hiring Kaepernick, GlobalData Retail managing director Neil Saunders said in a report, while noting the risks of a company getting involved in a "highly politicized" issue. Marketing campaigns typically aim to generate positive buzz, rather than engaging in ways that may divide consumers.

"This means it could ultimately alienate and lose customers, which is not the purpose of a marketing campaign," Saunders wrote. "Although the company's stand may go down well on its native West Coast, it will be far less welcome in many other locations.

The reaction on social media veered between support for Nike and consumers saying they would participate in a boycott. Some people posted videos of themselves burning Nike shoes.

Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, who has a special relationship with Nike and has vocalized his opposition to players kneeling during the National Anthem, was asked for his thoughts during an interview on 105.3 The Fan.

"First of all I do have a tremendous respect for Nike as a company and for Phil Knight and just everything they've meant to sports, so I do have a lot of respect for that," he said. "Because I'm in court, I'm being sued as a individually [sic] as well as as a team, this is litigation and I'm not going to be able to comment on it."

Despite slipping ahead of markets opening in the U.S., Nike shares are up more than 30 percent this year through the close of trade on Friday.


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