Trump says Nike is 'getting absolutely killed' over its Colin Kaepernick ad, but the boycott movement may already be dying

  • Nike‘s new “Just Do It” ad featuring Colin Kaepernick has polarised viewers, with some celebrating it and others calling for a boycott.
  • The ad’s most prominent detractor, President Donald Trump, tweeted on Wednesday that Nike was “getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts.”
  • In fact, the boycott movement seems to already be losing steam, according to data from Tickertags, which tracks discussions on social media.

Evidence has cast doubt on President Donald Trump’s Wednesday suggestion that Nike was being hurt by its polarising new ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick.

“Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts,” he tweeted. “I wonder if they had any idea that it would be this way?”

After Kaepernick on Monday was revealed to be part of Nike’s newest “Just Do It” campaign, a commercial narrated by Kaepernick on Wednesday showcased various sports-related stories, including professional athletes like Serena Williams and LeBron James.

Kaepernick in 2016 was the first athlete to kneel during the national anthem before games as a way of protesting police brutality and racial injustice. The method of protest was highlighted last season when Trump began taking issue with it, saying it disrespected the US flag and military and calling for players who protested during the anthem to be fired. Kaepernick has been unsigned in the NFL since the end of the 2016 season.

Yet despite Trump’s characterization on Wednesday, Apex Marketing Group data reported by Bloomberg found that the overall social-media sentiment in the 24 hours after the new Nike campaign’s unveiling was much more positive than negative.

Even better news for Nike is that as the dust has settled, the boycott threats have died down faster than past comparable calls, according to Tickertags, a firm that analyses social media for frequency of keywords.

“From a broader perspective, mention frequency of the tag [boycott] is showing a noticeable spike in the near term, but falls short of other recent boycott movements,” Tickertag analysts wrote in a note.

“Fewer relative conversations about boycotting are taking place now than in the past, which doesn’t support a strong negative call against Nike.”

In fact, mention of the word “boycott” in conjunction with Nike on social media was only the sixth-highest that Tickertags had seen in the past six years. The mention frequency was notably beat by two recent Starbucks-related boycott calls and a call to boycott the NFL.

Since the two calls to boycott Starbucks – one that arose after two black men were arrested in a Philadelphia store and one that was related to the company’s pledge to hire refugees– did not materially affect sales, Tickertags has concluded that calls for a Nike boycott are unlikely to affect sales either.

Mentions of the term “boycott” on social media have already fallen significantly in relation to mentions of Nike, further supporting that conclusion.

So even though some people have made a show out of burning their Nike shoes on social media, it seems the company isn’t likely to see a drop in sales.

Read more about Nike’s Colin Kaepernick ad:

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