Real-time reaction: Watch Nike's Kaepernick ad expose a generational divide

By September 8, 2018Advertising

Nike’s polarizing Colin Kaepernick spot has uncovered a generational divide, according to early tracking analysis by Morning Consult. The firm surveyed roughly 2,000 viewers who “dial-tested” the video by weighing in on their favorite parts.

The two-minute-long spot starts positively among Gen Z, millennials, Gen X and Boomers as Kaepernick narrates video of wheelchair basketball player Megan Blunk and Isaiah Bird, a wrestler who does not have legs. Yet as soon as Kaepernick comes on screen, interest among the Boomers segment of viewers drops dramatically, as evidenced by the chart accompanying the spot. (Watch the shifting trend in the video above; Boomers are in red, Gen Z in white. Millennials are blue, Gen X is yellow.)

The campaign, which celebrates the 30th anniversary of “Just Do It,” has proved controversial for Nike, which is simultaneously facing its own internal drama amid lawsuits alleging a toxic work culture. Many associate Kaepernick’s inclusion with Nike’s support of NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, and have burned their Nike products as a result. Yet early sales results show that the brand has yet to suffer a hit in either reputation and sales. Indeed, advertising experts say that the ad should help curry favor for the sportswear giant with younger consumers—Gen Z and millennials—as Morning Consult’s new analysis shows.

Reports Morning Consult: “The results indicate that black Americans, Democrats and younger generations were much more receptive to Kaepernick’s involvement and message than white Americans and Republicans. Additionally, Nike users had a more favorable view throughout than non-Nike users.”

Contributing: E.J. Schultz

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