Nike features Kaepernick in “Just Do It” Campaign Ad


During the first NFL regular season game between the Atlanta Falcons and Philadelphia Eagles, Nike aired an iconic commercial as part of their 30th-anniversary celebration. Nike gave former NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, prime-time exposure during the commercial. Kaepernick had already become a national figure when he ignited controversy by choosing to kneel on one knee during the United States national anthem prior to the start of NFL games. Kaepernick described his behavior as “a protest against racial injustice in the United States.” Nike realized that it would take some heat for their decision to feature Kaepernick.

The two-minute advertisement aired on NBC features a voice-over by Kaepernick, who appears with athletes, such as LeBron James, Serena Williams, and Shaquill Griffin. Kaepernick says “If people say your dreams are crazy, if they laugh at what you think you can do, good, stay that way because what non-believers fail to understand is that calling a dream crazy is not an insult, it’s a compliment.”

Rick Milenthal, Nike CEO, says “they want to express the brand in a way that’s relevant to what’s going on today both in the news and the marketplace.” Nike wanted to choose an athlete who would spur their consumers to rally around the company through social media and boost its popularity with younger consumers who want to patronize business to take a stand.

The commercial ends with Kaepernick saying “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Kaepernick has not played in the NFL since 2016. In addition, he has filed a complaint accusing NFL’s owners of uniting to deny him employment. Although many find Nike’s decision to feature Kaepernick as negative, others believe that it is relevant to what is happening in the world today.