Nike ‘proud’ of Kaepernick campaign


Nike running shoes are displayed at a DSW store on September 14, 2018 in San Francisco, California.

Nike’s controversial ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick has sparked “record” engagement and is driving sales, chief executive Mark Parker told financial analysts.

He made the remarks on a conference call after the release of the firm’s quarterly results on Tuesday.

Early analysis suggested the Kaepernick campaign has been a success for Nike.

But the firm had yet to offer its own description of the response since the ads launched this month.

“It’s resonated… quite strongly with consumers, obviously here in North America, but also around the world,” Mr Parker told analysts.

“Like many campaigns, it’s driving a real uptick in traffic and engagement, both socially as well as commercially.”

Mr Kaepernick, a former quarterback for the American football team, the San Francisco 49ers, is known for his refusal to stand during the national anthem in protest of police brutality and racism.

His action inspired other players to follow suit, but was attacked by Donald Trump and other conservatives, leading to heated debate in the US.

Mr Parker said the firm feels “very good and very proud” of the ad campaign.

His positive tone extended into the discussion of the firm’s quarterly results, which pre-dated the launch of the campaign.

Nike said revenues in the period increased 10% year-on-year to $9.9bn (£7.5bn).

Profits jumped by 15% to more than $1tn, lifted in part by the firm’s focus on direct sales, which allow it to cut out middlemen and command higher prices.

Sales in North America rose 6% in the quarter, accounting for about 40% of overall revenue.

Sales climbed by 24% in Greater China and 11% in the company’s Europe, Middle East and Africa region.

Nike shares have gained over the last year, as sales growth in its important North America division returned.

“We are thrilled with our momentum,” said Andy Campion, the firm’s chief financial officer.