Nike's Colin Kaepernick ad isn't the first time the brand's commercials have made a social statement. See some of the most memorable campaigns in its history.
- Nike's new ad campaign celebrating the 30th anniversary of "Just Do It," which features former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, has been at the center of controversy this week.
- Kaepernick was the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem before games in protest against racial inequality and police brutality. Some have accused him of disrespecting the American flag and military.
- This week, some have threatened to boycott Nike and destroyed its products in images posted to social media.
- This isn't the first time Nike has made a social statement in an ad.
Nike's new campaign celebrating the 30th anniversary of "Just Do It," which features former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, has been at the center of controversy this week.
On Monday, Kaepernick shared an image of his face on Twitter with the words "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything." Nike retweeted the image, which reportedly kicks off a new multiyear deal between the former NFL player and the sportswear company.
On Wednesday, Nike released the full version of the commercial, which is narrated by Kaepernick and features a range of athletes including inspirational amateurs, Serena Williams, and LeBron James.
Kaepernick was the first NFL player to kneel during the national anthem before games as part of a protest against racial inequality and police brutality. Some have accused Kaepernick and players who followed in his footsteps as disrespecting the American flag and the military, and quickly began threatening to boycott the brand in response to the ad, with some even going so far as burning their Nike shoes.
Nike has a long history of using its ads to make a social statement. The "Just Do It" campaign, created by the Wieden+Kennedy agency, launched in 1988. The first commercial in the campaign featured 80-year-old Bay Area icon Walter Stack, who ran approximately 62,000 miles in his lifetime.
See some of the other important ads from Nike's history:
Nike's first "Just Do It" spot in 1988 addressed ageism when it featured 80-year-old Bay Area icon Walter Stack, who ran approximately 62,000 miles in his lifetime.
A year later, the company advocated for people with disabilities in a spot starring Paralympian Craig Blanchette.
In 1993, an ad starring Charles Barkley sparked a conversation about whether celebrities and professional athletes should be held to higher standards. "I'm not paid to be a role model. I'm paid to wreak havoc on the basketball court," Barkley says in the ad.
Nike made a statement when a 1995 "Just Do It" ad featured openly gay, HIV-positive runner Ric Munoz. AIDS activists applauded Nike for the campaign.
In 1995, Nike tackled gender issues with its "If You Let Me Play" ad, which addressed the benefits of organized sports for girls. The ad featured young girls quoting statistics about the benefits of how sports can improve their lives.
In 2007, Nike featured Matt Scott of the National Wheelchair Basketball Association in a "Just Do It" ad.
Nike touched on gender issues again in 2012 with its "Voices" ad, which celebrated the 40th anniversary of Title IX.
Nike's 2017 "Equality" campaign featured black athletes like LeBron James, Serena Williams, Gabby Douglas, and Kevin Durant, along with actor Michael B. Jordan talking of the parallels between equality in sports and equality in the broader world.
Nike also released the "What Will They Say About You?" ad in 2017, which featured five Middle Eastern women pushing social norms to succeed in sports like boxing and skateboarding.
Earlier this year, Nike celebrated 30 years of the "Just Do It" tagline with an ad campaign following Serena Williams' path to the US Open.
The Colin Kaepernick ad is the most recent Nike ad to tackle a social issue. The ad comes after Kaepernick brought a lawsuit accusing NFL owners of colluding to keep him out of the league after his protests against racial inequality and police brutality.
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