Colin Kaepernick, for those that don’t know is an NFL quarterback, currently a free agent. A rarity for someone with such talent. Kaepernick had a glittering college career for the University of Nevada where he won the Offensive Player of the year twice and became the only player in history to deliver over 10,000 passing and 4,000 rushing yards. If you’re not an American Football fan, trust me, that’s good. Once he graduated he joined the San Francisco 49ers and in his breakthrough season of 2013 he helped the ‘9ers’ to their first Superbowl matchup since the early 90’s. The following season the San Francisco 49ers won the NFC Championship game to cap off what was an opening two seasons for Kaepernick that didn’t go unnoticed.
So, you have to ask yourself why is Kaepernick a free agent? Well, Kaepernick became national notoriety in 2016 when he began kneeling during the national anthem was sung before the start of the games. His silent rallying cry was to protest against racial injustice in the United States. It yielded both plaudits and criticism, but one thing is for sure, many of his NFL counterparts followed suit. At the end of 2016, Kaepernick opted out of his San Francisco 49ers contract and became a free agent. In late 2017, Kaepernick filed a grievance against the NFL and its owners, in it he accused them of conspiring not to hire him for their teams. In 2018, Amnesty International awarded Kaepernick with that year’s Ambassador of Conscience award. Since, Kaepernick finds himself in a professional athlete’s wilderness with no team, no contract, no ball in his hands. But one thing has remained, his contract with Nike.
Nike have long been in the gold standard of brand marketing, delivering thought provoking messages to inspire an audience to get off our backsides and to #JustDoIt. Often people think of brand marketing as an exclusive club for the elite brands who have millions of dollars of creative ad spend burning a hole in their piggy banks. And don’t get me wrong, often it can be. But in truth the fundamentals of brand remain the same whether you have a million bucks or a hundred. That is to say, you need to deliver an inspiring message to your desired audience that makes them feel akin to you and your product or service. Today we live in a world where the biggest of brands have taken brand advertising to a new level, telling stories in short form video in VERY creative ways. Nike, however have proved once again that, while that type of creative is the new norm, if your message is powerful enough, less is more, much more.
Believe in something, even if it means sacrificing everything. Just Do It.
Well done Colin, keep fighting the good fight.