Wall Street Sees Nike Boost From Colin Kaepernick Ad

Wall Street Sees Nike Boost From Colin Kaepernick Ad

Nike is increasingly seen getting a boost from the brand’s decision to include Colin Kaepernick in its “Just Do It” anniversary ad campaign, according to investor notes from Piper Jaffray and Canaccord Genuity. Canaccord conducted a poll that found consumers “overwhelmingly supportive” of the campaign.

In its note, Canaccord said the survey of 1,000 consumers showed:

  • 51 percent support the ad
  • 64 percent of men and 47 percent of women support the ad
  • 31 percent would “absolutely” purchase more from Nike after seeing the ad versus only 14 percent who would “absolutely” purchase less
  • The positive response is broad based across different age ranges
  • 36 percent of respondents would “absolutely” recommend Nike to a friend or family member after seeing the ad versus only 15 percent who would “absolutely not” recommend Nike
  • Lastly, a separate 1,000-person survey found that 34 percent of non-Nike consumers are now “extremely likely” to make a purchase from Nike after watching the Kaepernick ad

In the note, Canaccord analyst Camilo Lyon wrote the response from non-Nike customers was particularly revealing. Lyon wrote, “We believe this is a meaningfully important result, as it indicates that NKE likely converted non-fans of the brand into customers, likely at the expense of other brands. To us, this underscores the fact that the Kaepernick ad has likely done more good than harm.”

He added overall, “Based on these insights, we can comfortably conclude that the ad has had the intended effect of positively skewing NKE’s brand perception and likely providing a bump in sales. We reiterate our BUY.”

Canaccord has a target price of $95. The investment firm had upgraded the stock to “buy” on September 11 due to successful recent launches and a strong innovation pipeline.

On Monday, Piper Jaffray in a note stated it believed the Kaepernick ad will likewise prove positive for Nike.

Wrote lead analyst, Erinn Murphy, “Despite the critics who have vocalized their views against the Kaepernick campaign, our belief is that the controversy has not only bred commerce, but we view the influential consumers of the brand (think sneakerheads, GenZ, Millennials) stand with Nike on this ad.”

She also said Nike consistently grown over the years despite a number of other controversial campaigns. These include Michael Jordan’s NBA banned shoes (84/85), Charles Barkley’s “I Am Not A Role Model” (93), and Lance Armstrong’s “What Am I On?” (01), gender equality (’95 & ’12), HIV/AIDS (’95) and ‘What Will They Say About You” (’17).

Murphy added, “Bottom line, we believe history has proven it is much more valuable to ‘be there/visible’ for major sports and social moments than to offer up a neutral position or no stance. Further, we believe Nike’s diverse customer base better insulates it from negative backlash among any specific consumer groups more so than any global softlines brand.”

Piper Jaffray reiterated its “Overweight” rating on Nike ahead of the company reporting earnings on September 25. Murphy said she sees an upside to her Q1 sales and gross margin estimates due to “solid domestic demand, strength in China & on-going traction in Europe.” Online clearance checks further indicate that Nike outperformed peer promotional levels and inventory management during the back-to-school season.

Piper Jaffray has a target price of $93.

On Tuesday, shares of Nike closed at $85.26, up $2.00, or 2.4 percent. Shares had fallen $2.60 to $79.60 on September 4 in the first-trading day after the Kaepernick campaign debuted but have since moved past record highs. The stock began this year at $62.85.

Kaepernick gained notoriety in 2016 when he refused to stand for the National Anthem in protest against police brutality and the mistreatment of minorities in the U.S. As word of Kaepernick’s inclusion in the new campaign got out, protests rang out with some calling for a boycott of the Nike brand, but the overall social media reaction is seen as more positive than negative with Nike fans cheering the brand’s bold casting move.