Nike Inc.'s (NKE) decision to bring former NFL player Colin Kaepernick for its latest "Just Do It" campaign was widely criticized and was expected to negatively impact its sales. However, it seems that the controversy was overblown and the campaign has driven Nike' sales up.

According to Market Watch, after an initial dip, Nike's online sales actually grew 31 percent from the Sunday of Labor Day weekend through Tuesday. This trumped last year's 17 percent increase, according to San Francisco-based Edison Trends.

"There was speculation that the Nike/Kaepernick campaign would lead to a drop in sales, but our data over the last week does not support that theory," said Hetal Pandya, co-founder of Edison Trends. The report does not factor in brick-and-mortar sales. Nike's shares had slipped over 3 percent when the company announced its advertisement deal with Kaepernick.

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Nike announced its advertising campaign will feature Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback who led the protests against racial injustice during the national anthem. The ad campaign marks the thirtieth anniversary of Nike's #JustDoIt campaign.

Nike faced huge backlash on social media after the company announced its endorsement deal with Kaepernick, with the hashtags #BoycottNike and #JustBurnIt trending on Twitter. Several angry customers posted images of themselves burning or ripping their Nike apparel and shoes to protest the company's move.

Kaepernick, a former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, had started the national anthem kneeling movement during a pre-season game in 2016, to show his protest against racial injustice and mistreatment of black people by the police. Hundreds of more players joined Kaepernick and started kneeling during the playing of the U.S. national anthem. (dpa)

 

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