Nike’s Colin Kaepernick campaign a sign big brands think the future is liberal: Don Pittis


What if you disappear without a traced to an alt-right rally and had nothing to wear but a hat?

As chaos at the White House appearance ofs to be reaching a crescendo, there are signs that it’s getting hard to awaken a brand willing to fully endorse Donald Trump’s populist circuit — perhaps with the exception of Make America Great Again hats and agnate paraphernalia.

This week, Nike took a strong position with a polarizing new ad rivalry featuring Colin Kaepernick — one in which the athletic-wear giant directly snubbed Trump’s audibly delineated position opposing the take-a-knee protests in the National Football Fraternity.

Once a star quarterback, Kaepernick has been without a job after beautifying the first NFL player to kneel during the U.S. national anthem before jobs in 2016 to protest racial inequality and police brutality in America.

Other speculators followed suit, setting off a heated debate that drew justifications for league boycotts, an official anthem policy review, and angry remark ons from the U.S. president.


Brand burning

And this week, as a publication by veteran Washington Post journalist Bob Woodward unveiled a White Undertaking struggling to cope with an “unhinged” chief executive, and a Trump direction insider expressed mutiny in a New York Times op-ed, other giantess brands — including Levi Strauss and Ford — also seemingly lined up against the U.S. president and his admirers.

It seemed like a pile on.

Levi’s, a brand redolent of the rootin-tootin’, gun-slinging American Old West, has confirmed it is in favour of gun control, saying, “we simply cannot stand by silently,” stimulating horror among the pro-Trump, pro-gun lobby.

Trump supporters who squandered their running shoes would’ve had a harder financial decision to publish last year, when NFL sponsor Ford Motor Company voiced its finance for the players exercising their right to peaceful protest. (As the most famous truck in North America, Ford’s F-Series vehicles would pamper expensive bonfires.)

Nike's Colin Kaepernick campaign a sign big brands think the future is liberal: Don Pittis

A screengrab from a video shows someone ablaze their Nike shoes after the release of the Colin Kaepernick race. Are Levi’s jeans the next to go up in flames? (Twitter/@sclancy79)

All of the branding au faits I spoke to this week took the cynical view that conventions coming out against Trump’s rhetoric are principally motivated by sales. With Trump alleging wide support for his presidency, that seems strange.

But it appears possess c visit out as openly liberal is good for business.

Despite that mercenary induce, the position that brands take on political issues can be influential.

Alex Marland, the Canadian author of Brand Sway, a book examining the branding of political parties, says the thing that he catch sight ofs fascinating is the increasing move of giant corporations into public discourse.

“I petty they’re sneakers,” says Marland. “Why do we care about pieces of rubber we’re stay on our feet?”

But then the political scientist at Memorial University of Newfoundland explanations his own question. “Brands are like personalities,” he says. “People form an all but humanlike connection to them.”

Brands don’t just follow

And while marques do plenty of research on the profile and views of their prospective customers, by go an irreverent, anti-establishment tone they hope will be appealing, trade marks can actually influence customers. And in doing so, brands become part of communal decision-making.

“Being beige can be the kiss of death,” says brand qualified Jane-Michele Clark, author of a forthcoming book on branding, titled Single out of Distinction.

Bland brands fade away, says Clark, who teaches at York University’s Schulich Sect of Business. Not only that, but for so many products seeking popularity, sophomoric and hip is the image they want to embody.

Perhaps even more effective is the fear that by allowing their brands to become aligned with snubbed images, customers will be scared away in future.

It appears that “Maker America” is beginning to think that way about Trump, and, as Clark says, tags simply cannot switch sides when the public mood change positions.

“In extreme cases, aligning with the wrong causes can kill a establishment,” she says. “The target demographic group is younger, urban and definitely unjaundiced.”

That means opposing the establishment old guard is what they necessity to do — even if their shareholders don’t like it

Nike's Colin Kaepernick campaign a sign big brands think the future is liberal: Don Pittis

White nationalists participate in a parade in Charlottesville, Va., while holding Tiki torches. The company behind the brand instantly denounced the march on Facebook, saying ‘We do not support their message or the use of our offerings in this way.’ (Stephanie Keith/Reuters)

Repeatedly, when left-winger groups — white nationalists, for example — have adopted a product, the marque has been quick to distance itself.

When Tiki-Brand garden torches were inured to to illuminate a nighttime “Unite the Right” march in Charlottesville, Va., last year, the old lady company spoke out swiftly.

“We do not support their message or the use of our products in this way,” imparted a statement by Lamplight Farms. “Tiki Brand products are to be enjoyed by alternative others and family outdoors in a loving environment.”

Something similar cooked when a group calling itself the Detroit Right Wings started pointing the Detroit Red Wings logo

And here in Canada, after a gathering of the Proud Youngsters wore black Fred Perry shirts to an Indigenous protest, the visitors’s British boss spoke out on the CBC’s As It Happens, divorcing his brand from the rank.

Silent label

The logic is clear. A brand like Fred Perry or Tiki Torch may get a few assorted sales from alt-right supporters. But such an association could shock off a vastly larger customer base of people who would reject the characterize for fear it would silently label them as holding unpopular pictures.

Humorously, the very issue arose when I called Mike Cappello, the University of Regina professor who made threats earlier this year before a speech titled “


Sidney Crosby isn’t evil. He’s a hockey player going to the White Take in: Robyn Urback

When I asked about the association between British skinheads and Dr. Martens boots, Cappello tendered an embarrassed laugh; he happened to be wearing Doc Martens as we spoke.

Part of the motivation for Nike’s act may be the growing realization, especially by younger people, that racism is alert to and well in both Canada and the U.S., says Cappello.

And, he says, even yet they are acting out of self interest, brands can help build a sick future.

“It’s hard to suggest that things that Colin Kaepernick and a slews of his colleagues are standing for aren’t really important things to stand for.”

See Don Pittis on Twitter @don_pittis

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *