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6.1.20   1:46 PM Innovation - Consumer

Nike's statement in support of protestors earns it record social engagement

Nike has increased the stakes of its advertising and its brand, by wading into difficult social justice issues. It looks to be working.

Nike once again went out on a limb, took on a controversial stance in support of activists opposing continued police violence against the black community - and, on social media, was rewarded for its proactive efforts. 

Over the weekend, Nike's ($NKE) "Don't Do It" ad went viral, prompting support of the brand - as well as anger among those that opposed Black Lives Matter protestors. But, it certainly looks like a win for the brand that has increasingly taken on difficult positions and inserted itself into US and global culture not as a force for sports - but as a force for good. 

In our chart above, which tracks Nike's Facebook Talking About Count - or its mentions on the social network - we can see Nike chatter shot to multi-year highs in recent days, even as looters pillaged some of its retail locations. It's even higher than the last time Nike weighed in to support a social justice cause. Nearly 800,000 people - triple its usual chatter - were talking about Nike on the social network, and it's a figure that could yet rise in days to come. 

In 2018, for the 30th anniversary of its 'Just Do It' landmark slogan centered on NFL quarterback and black community activist Colin Kaepernick, which drew conservatives' ire, but also earned Nike substantial social media engagement

That said, some of the engagement were enraged counter-protestors who did things like burn their Nikes on social media. It's impossible to please everyone, and certainly when weighing in on issues as critical and as controversial as police brutality and social justice. Nike went out on a limb, made a bet, and once again, it probably paid off. 

About the Data:

Thinknum tracks companies using the information they post online - jobs, social and web traffic, product sales, and app ratings - and creates data sets that measure factors like hiring, revenue, and foot traffic. Data sets may not be fully comprehensive (they only account for what is available on the web), but they can be used to gauge performance factors like staffing and sales.

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