Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Nike Walks Away from Customers

By now you've surely heard that Nike has launched their latest version of their famed "Just Do It" campaign, but this one is featuring Colin Kaepernick:


There have been a lot of responses to this, the best being a replacement of Kaepernick's face with fallen hero Pat Tillman.  There's sacrificing everything, then there's sacrificing everything.  

I won't get into rehashing the whole Kaepernick, Black Lives Matter, kneeling protest.  There's enough of that out there.  But you know what else Nike thinks there's enough of out there?  Customers.  The whole NFL thing has divided a country, and by picking a side, Nike has effectively pissed off millions - let me state that again - MILLIONS of customers.  Much like Dick's Sporting Goods did with guns, Nike is deeming it more important to be a Social Justice Warrior than it is to serve its customers.

Perhaps they feel that their SJW move can endear them to other non-Nike customers, and woke folks buying other brands will flock to Nike and offset non-woke customers.  Perhaps they just don't care, and like so many nowadays, they believe they're right, and if you don't agree with them then you're a bigot and you don't deserve to buy Nikes anyway.  I don't know.

As a marketer, I do know that acquiring customers and protecting market share, especially in a mature category like shoes, is a bare-knuckled fight.  It's damned hard work.  

Given how hard it is, why would you ever simply walk away from people that literally ensure that you have food on the table?  

I'm so tired of politics everywhere, and I'm particularly tired of politics in sports.  It used to be a last bastion where folks of different persuasions could find common ground.  Now, you either prove how woke you are, or you run the risk of being a racist, fascist, Nazi, or homophobe, even when following your favorite team.

Regardless of my political slant, the marketer in me wishes Nike nothing but failure.  The minute you take your customers for granted, especially for something like not being woke enough for you, that's the time your long-term business prospects are dubious.

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