Nike’s decision to support company ambassador Colin Kaepernick and pull the Betsy Ross flag-inspired “Air Max 1 USA” may have infuriated some folks on the right, but in the end, it may have been the most lucrative move for the brand.
Since Nike announced they would remove the special edition Air Max 1s from their website over concerns about the Betsy Ross flag’s connection to slavery and white supremacy, the company saw a 2% stock increase. This bump resulted in an increase of about $3 billion in market value, according to Forbes.
Currently, the company’s market value stands at $136.38 billion. The correlation between Nike’s socially conscious branding and its bottom line has been noticed by many high-profile venture capitalists.
“What I’m beginning to learn about Nike,” Kevin O’Leary of Shark Tank told TMZ Sports, “they know how to take controversy and blow it up into advertising.”
This isn’t the first time Nike has seen a net gain from moving towards a more partisan, socially aware and progressive brand.
When the company first announced that Colin Kaepernick would be the face of a historic “Just Do It” campaign, they also saw a rise in sales and market value. According to Apex Marketing Group, the company received more than $43 million worth of media exposure from the ad.
The company tapped into the protests and conversations being led by the nation's youth, which happens to be the brand's target audience.
Once Nike decided to go all-in on Kaepernick, like-minded investors who believe companies should also pave the way for social change celebrated the company in the form of a paycheck.
Forbes reports that 15,191 investors added Nike to their portfolios after the Kaepernick ad dropped, and based on the reaction to Nike’s removal of the “Betsy Ross Flag” Air Max 1, that number is expected to increase.