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Nike’s Cause Marketing. Justice Communication

A cause-related marketing campaign is a campaign in which a company aligns itself with a good cause in order to improve its reputation, boost sales, and make a positive difference in the world. One of the most well-known and impressive campaigns of such type is Nike’s Colin Kaepernick 2018 marketing endeavor (Waymer & Logan, 2021). Nike aligned itself to the cause of racial and social justice by featuring a controversial media figure as the face of their advertising.

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Kaepernick was most famous for not standing up to salute the US flag during a match in 2016, in protest against police violence and systemic racism. He was hated by many, who interpreted his gesture as a lack of respect towards the country. Nike reached out to him in 2018, and used his face along with a sign: “Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything” (Waymer & Logan, 2021, p. 1). Ever since Nike became associated with the racial justice movement among certain crowds.

The structure of the advertising campaign was notoriously different from the traditional marketing structure, which sought to appease and attract the maximum number of potential customers. This campaign purposefully sought to divide the audience, disfranchising some while attracting others. Shortly after the campaign started, Nike faced a backlash and a brief drop in its stock prices (Waymer & Logan, 2021). However, in the following year after the ad, the company made over 6 billion dollars in revenue, proving that taking a stance on some of America’s fault lines was a successful motion (Waymer & Logan, 2021).

The reason why it worked so well was because, in essence, cause marketing campaigns are long-term efforts. Announcing one’s dedication to a noble cause is not enough – a company needs to prove its commitment against a barrage of criticism and doubt, which Nike did, and reaped benefits by making itself a symbol of social justice.

Reference

Waymer, D., & Logan, N. (2021). Corporate social advocacy as engagement: Nike’s social justice communication. Public Relations Review, 47(1), 102005.

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StudyCorgi. 2022. "Nike’s Cause Marketing. Justice Communication." October 6, 2022. https://studycorgi.com/nikes-cause-marketing-justice-communication/.

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StudyCorgi. (2022) 'Nike’s Cause Marketing. Justice Communication'. 6 October.

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