76% of voters age 18-34 support Nike's Kaepernick ad, study finds
- U.S. voters approve of Nike’s choice to feature former NFL star Colin Kaepernick in its ads by a 49% to 37% margin, according to a survey of 1,038 voters by Quinnipiac University, Ad Age reported.
- Sixty-seven percent of voters age 18-34 support the campaign, while voters 65 and older disapprove of the ad by a margin of 46% to 39%. The university found that 67% of respondents think NFL players have the right to protest by kneeling during the national anthem. But, they are split at 47% to 47% on whether they approve of the kneeling.
- The campaign has helped Nike see a 2:1 ratio of earned to paid media, per a Kantar Media analysis referenced by MediaPost. Nike spent about $4 million on paid TV ad buys for the campaign featuring Kaepernick, but generated $7.6 million in earned media value, Kantar’s social analytics partner Hookit found.
Though Nike faced some vocal critics after tapping Kaepernick for the new “Just Do It” campaign, the brand seems to be benefitting from the controversy. The buzz that the ad created, whether negative or positive, has been good for brand awareness, with Nike able to nearly double its earned media value. The company has also seen online sales increase 31% from Sunday through Tuesday over Labor Day weekend, marking a 17% increase over the same time period in 2017, according to an Edison Trends analysis.
The Quinnipiac University survey echoes other research showing the much-talked-about ad is strongly supported by young consumers, which are an important segment for Nike. An Ace Metrix survey released this week found that 13% of respondents were less likely to purchase from Nike after viewing the ad, but the number dropped to 10% for millennials and 6% for Gen Zers.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the protests, aimed at bringing attention to racial inequalities and police brutality, also resonated with young people. More than half, or 56%, of Gen Zers say they consider themselves to be socially conscious, and more than 50% say that knowing a brand is socially conscious influences their purchases, a survey by MNI Targeted Media, a division of Meredith Corp., found.
That voters are split on whether they agree with kneeling during the national anthem is interesting and is reflective of the overall political divide in the U.S. As Ad Age points out, Hillary Clinton won 48% of the popular vote compared to Donald Trump’s 46%, though Trump ended up winning more electoral votes. The poll also spotlights the racial divide, finding that 53% of white voters disapprove of players kneeling during the anthem, while 77% of black voters approve. Hispanic voters are split 48% to 48%.
The poll also found that 79% of Democrats support players kneeling during the anthem while 89% of Republicans oppose the move. This finding is in line with previous research showing that 78% of self-identified liberal consumers want brands to be more political compared to 52% of conservatives who expressed the same view, according to Sprout Social.