Despite concerns over a consumer backlash following Nike Inc.'s (NKE) decision to feature former NFL player Colin Kaepernick in its recent advertising campaign celebrating the 30th anniversary of its "Just Do It" slogan, some bulls on Wall Street say the strategic move will boost sales for the world's largest athletic apparel maker.
Earlier this month, Nike confirmed a multiyear deal with Kaepernick after the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback tweeted an advertisement with him as the face of Nike's new campaign.
Majority of Consumers Support Ad, Non-Nike Buyers Compelled to Spend
"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," wrote Canaccord Genuity analyst Camilo Lyon in a recent note to clients, as reported by CNBC.
Kaepernick has become a divisive figure in recent years, starting a wave of protests throughout the league wherein players would sit or kneel during the national anthem to bring attention to issues like racial injustice and police brutality. The protests were criticized by figures including President Donald Trump and led to Kaepernick's ongoing legal dispute with the NFL. Nike has a long-standing relationship with the NFL, including a recent deal announced in March calling for the sportswear company to supply uniforms and apparel through 2028.
Lyon, who rates Nike at buy, cited a new Canaccord survey of 1,000 respondents which indicated that 36% of non-Nike consumers are now "extremely likely" to make a purchase after watching Nike's ad with the tagline "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything." The survey found that over half of respondents supported the ad, more than double the percentage of respondents who said that they "don't support it." Meanwhile, 31% of respondents indicated that they would absolutely buy more Nike after viewing the ad, compared to just 14% who said they would purchase less of it, as reported by CNBC.
Looking forward to quarterly results slated for next week, Lyon expects Nike to confirm his team's assessment, as well as other reports including data from Edison Trends, showing Nike's product orders up 27% in the Sunday to Wednesday period following the Kaepernick news.
Canaccord's 12-month price target at $95 reflects a near 12% upside from Wednesday morning. Trading down 0.4% at $84.91, Nike stock reflects a 35.8% gain year-to-date (YTD), compared to the S&P 500's 8.8% return over the same period.
(For more, see also: Nike Stock Could Drop 10% After Kaepernick Gamble.)