Some people may hate Nike's risky marketing campaigns — but the brand keeps adding billions to its bottom line

How Nike turns controversy into dollars
How Nike turns controversy into dollars

Athletic apparel and footwear brand Nike reignited a heated debate at the start of the National Football League regular season after the company featured free-agent Colin Kaepernick in its 30th anniversary "Just Do It" advertising campaign.

The former San Francisco 49ers quarterback started national anthem demonstrations in 2016 to protest racial injustice and police brutality. The anthem protests have become a major topic for debate, with some, including President Donald Trump, denouncing them as unpatriotic.

But the controversial ad didn't appear to hurt Nike's business. Although the company's stock dropped after the ad's debut, its online sales surged in the immediate aftermath.

The NFL said in a statement that the "social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action. ... We embrace the role and responsibility of everyone involved with this game to promote meaningful, positive change in our communities."

Nike has a history of taking a stand on social issues in its advertisements, and it's almost always resulted in a rise in sales.

Watch the video above to see how Nike managed to turn a national debate into revenue.

Correction: The statement about social justice issues should have been attributed to the NFL.