A controversial decision made by Nike continues to pay off. Their ad campaign, entitled “Dream Crazy” received an Emmy.
At the time of its release, this ad was met with tons of praise, but also tons of criticism. The video displayed moving stories of overcoming the odds and exceeding expectations. These examples included Serena Williams, a young boy with no legs conquering their wrestling opponent, a refugee earning a spot on the country’s soccer team.
While preaching the idea that no dream is too big seems like a pretty non-controversial statement, where critics took issue was at the end when Colin Kaepernick was highlighted saying his now-famous phrase from the campaign “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”
Kaepernick’s presence, of course, stands to symbolize his protesting efforts in the NFL: kneeling during the national anthem to bring awareness to the issues of racism, police brutality, and social injustice. Those who were offended by the use of the former San Francisco 49’ers quarterback in the campaign began using anti-Nike hashtags on Twitter, posting photos of them destroying Nike products, and calling for Nike to drop Kaepernick and pull the ad.
And yet, despite all of this backlash that critics threatened would destroy their business, Nike was thriving, and the number of people who went out of their way to show their support outnumbered those who claimed they would never shop Nike again. And now, the overall support for the campaign is solidified after winning an Emmy for Outstanding Commercial at the Creative Arts Emmys.
All of this just goes to demonstrate the power of branding, especially when you connect that branding to deeply-held beliefs, such as social political issues. Sometimes it might be worth the risk of taking a stance on a polarized issue, because though you might lose some people, you gain such substantial respect from the people, and in this case even a whole institution, the Emmys, who feel represented by the message that you as a brand are communicating.
If you want to read more on branding, check out one of our previous blog posts that discusses branding and touches quickly on the Nike ad as an example.
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Hannah Michelle Lambert is the Digital Marketer at Worthix where she leads all things social, conversion, and nurture. She cut her teeth at the intersection of Customer Experience and SaaS technology and is passionate about innovative, customer-centric marketing strategies. She is a graduate of the University of Michigan and current resident of Atlanta.