It pays these days to antagonize the US president and his fans—at least, that’s what Nike’s betting on. When the world’s foremost athletic apparel giant decided to make NFL-quarterback-turned-justice-advocate Colin Kaepernick the provocative face of its new campaign on Labour Day, they must have anticipated a backlash—but how many flaming pairs of shoes or angry boycotts is worth the notoriety and vocal support Nike received by taking a perceived stand? And does that change when the president inevitably tweets out his opinion?

It’s a calculated risk undertaken by a company that has always been among industry leaders in brand recognition. And though it’s nice to think that Nike agrees with Kaepernick’s message on racism and police brutality in America, the bottom line is that the company has undoubtedly done its cost-benefit models. Marketing professor David Soberman takes us inside the brand strategy that perhaps makes it worth Nike's while to take political positions with advertising messages - at least in Trump’s America.


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