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Colin Kaepernick Campaign Gives Nike a Big Sales Boost

A billboard featuring former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick is displayed on the roof of the Nike Store on September 5, 2018 in San Francisco, California. Nike launched an ad campaign to commemorate the 30th anniversary of its iconic "Just Do It' motto that features controversial former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick and a message that says "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything." Justin Sullivan Getty Images

Nike’s selection of Colin Kaepernick as one of the new faces of the company has certainly brought media attention and controversy, but it’s also having a noticeable effect on the bottom line.

A new report from Edison Trends says Nike’s online sales grew 31% from Sunday through Tuesday of Labor Day weekend this year. That’s notably better than last year’s 17% seasonal increase.

“There was speculation that the Nike/Kaepernick campaign would lead to a drop in sales but the data does not support that theory,” the company said in a statement.

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The report does not factor in brick-and-mortar sales.

To amass the data, Edison Trends analyzed purchases from 3 million Americans’ email receipts, looking at the purchase of any Nike product from more than 200 U.S. retail outlets, as well as Nike.com.

Nike stock fell more than 3% when it announced the endorsement deal with Kaepernick. Shares are still lower than before the deal, but have rebounded slightly. In the meantime, Apex Marketing Group notes that despite the backlash, Nike has received more than $43 million worth of media exposure and positioned itself as a risk-taker.

The deal did put Nike at odds with the National Football League, though, and earned a rebuke from Donald Trump, who called it “a terrible message“.

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