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September 19, 2018

Samantha's Chronicles: Just do it

EUGENE, OR - MAY 31: Caleb Mwangangl Ndiku of Kenya celebrates his victory in the 5000m during day 2 of the IAAF Diamond League Nike Prefontaine Classic on May 31, 2014 at the Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon.  
Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images/AFP
EUGENE, OR - MAY 31: Caleb Mwangangl Ndiku of Kenya celebrates his victory in the 5000m during day 2 of the IAAF Diamond League Nike Prefontaine Classic on May 31, 2014 at the Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon. Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images/AFP

After a few glasses of wine, I’m no closer to finishing the list that is to define my relationship with Rob than I was two hours ago. I sigh and minimise the file on my desktop, opening a new Word document. I’ll finish it some other time; right now I have to write an editorial for my magazine.

It’s interesting but words that had failed me when writing my list, which should come easily (you’re basically asking for everything you’ve ever wanted), seem to flow easily now as I put down my thoughts for this month’s issue. I type away, occasionally taking a sip of my wine.

Forty-five minutes later I read through it. I’m writing about the ‘rabbit out of a hat’ that Nike just pulled:

Marketers, marketers, marketers... Gather around for this stroke of genius. 2016 was not a great year for Nike. For the first time in a decade that year, the Swoosh did not have the most popular sneaker in the US. They lost that title to Adidas Superstar. Add to that, it had dropped a significant market share from an amazing 60 per cent in 2014.

But make no mistake, Nike was still a monster, with 46 per cent market share compared to Adidas’s 11%. In 2017, Nike took back the Number 1 position with Nike Tanjun. This sneaker is comfortable and easy to wear, making it very attractive to a lot of moms. Moms comprise a quiet but powerful demographic. The name Tanjun comes from the Japanese word for ‘simplicity.’ Nike says it offered “an elevated everyday look.”  

But though back with the number one sneaker in the land, great brands don’t just rest on their laurels. They come back even BIGGER, determined to regain their 2014 glory and control over half the market share. So they did something bold. They signed controversial figure Colin Kaepernick to be the face of Nike's 30th anniversary Just Do It campaign, ensuring headlines and massive #Trending on all social media platforms.

For a little background if you’ve never heard of Kaepernick, he’s an American Football quarterback who is currently a free agent. NFL teams blackballed Colin after taking a knee during the playing of the national anthem last season to protest police brutality against African Americans. Other players followed suit and their protest against racial injustice in the US ignited a firestorm of controversy with a polarising debate between those for and against his chosen mode of protest.

Last year he filed a grievance lawsuit against the NFL and its owners, accusing them of colluding not to hire him.

Colin follows the likes of Mohammed Ali, who lost everything to take a stand they believed in. Nike signing Colin (who isn’t playing) is clearly showing the middle finger to the NFL, who Nike is in partnership with. Nike provides all NFL teams with game-day uniforms and sideline apparel that bears the swoosh logo.

Nike is on the right side of history with this one. It will blow the competition out of the water. The likes of Amnesty International have already awarded Kaepernick with an Ambassador of Conscience award. There are, of course, some disgruntled right wing groups burning their Nike apparel with this move but Nike is a worldwide brand, not just an American one. And most of the world takes a very dim view of a lot of shenanigans taking place in the “land of the free”. I think I'll go buy myself a pair of Nike sneakers right now. And 50 of our readers will get a chance to win a pair as well. Details are on the centrespread. Thank you, Nike. This is marketing genius.

I sign off the editorial feeling proud of myself. Then I re-open my pending list. Well, as Nike says, Just Do It. I start typing …

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