Nike has received a massive influx of critical comments on Twitter, following the company’s controversial new ad campaign featuring exiled NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Nike’s Twitter account has seen its “sentiment” drop 38 percent since the ad ran earlier this week, meaning its seen a sharp increase in negative comments, according to data shared by 4C Insights on Thursday. Still, the ad has worked when it comes to getting people to talk about Nike, with the company seeing a rapid 1,678 percent increase in Twitter engagement.
And while the #boycottnike hashtag has received about 204,000 Twitter engagements since Monday, the #justdoit hashtag has more than five times the engagements during the same time frame — indicating that while the ad has drawn Nike more scorn, it’s also galvanized its supporters.
“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything” read the Nike ad, which celebrates the 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” campaign. A TV ad featuring Kaepernick immediately followed.
— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) September 3, 2018
Kaepernick recently resigned a multi-million dollar deal with Nike, despite not playing a professional down of football since 2016.
The ad hits on the protests Kaepernick started in 2016, when he began kneeling during the National Anthem before NFL games as a means of raising awareness and protesting racial inequality in America, and the shooting deaths of unarmed black men, women and children by police officers. Nike’s campaign has driven many customers to burn their shoes and apparel in a protest of their own.
While Nike’s sentiment has declined this week, Kaepernick’s has flourished. The 30-year-old saw a 40 percent increase in positive comments between Sept. 2 and Labor Day, when the ad debuted. His engagement increased more than 360,000 percent during that period, according to 4C Insights.
President Trump weighed in on the campaign on Tuesday, telling The Daily Caller that “I think it’s a terrible message that they’re sending and the purpose of them doing it, maybe there’s a reason for them doing it.”
Nike is the official uniform maker for the NFL and recently extended its contract through 2028. The NFL season is set to kick off Thursday night on NBC when the defending Super Bowl champion Philadelphia Eagles host the Atlanta Falcons. Nike will run the ad during the game, according to ESPN’s Darren Rovell.