Nike’s controversial ad featuring Colin Kaepernick has been a hot topic this NFL season, and the company’s CEO is satisfied with what has been accomplished.
While speaking to analysts on an earnings call Tuesday, Nike CEO Mark Parker said executives “feel actually very good and very proud of the work” after the ad drove record social media engagement and boosted sales.
“How we look at it is how do we connect and engage in a way that’s relevant and inspiring to the consumers that we’re here to serve,” Parker said, via CNBC. “Our brand strength … is a key dimension that contributes to the ongoing momentum that we’re building across the Nike portfolio.”
The ad, which commemorates the 30th anniversary of Nike’s “Just Do It” campaign, is voiced over by Kaepernick and also features Serena Williams and LeBron James. It garnered both praise and criticism for featuring the former 49ers quarterback, who became a polarizing figure after he began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to protest police brutality and social injustice.
“These are actually very inspiring athletes, and again we feel like that campaign has delivered on that message in a way that’s really connected with people around the world,” Parker said.
Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL last November, alleging the league and franchise owners colluded to keep him from signing with another team. An NFL request to dismiss the case was denied last month, meaning there is sufficient evidence for it to go to an arbitrator.