Nike's online sales surge in days after Kaepernick ad debut

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A billboard featuring former San Francisco 49ers quaterback Colin Kaepernick is displayed on the roof of the Nike Store on September 5, 2018 in San Francisco, California. 

While shares of Nike plunged after it released its new ad campaign for the 30th anniversary of "Just Do It," featuring former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, its sales of apparel and shoes have not.

Despite backlash and boycotts by some consumers, Nike's online sales actually rose in the days after the advertisement debuted.

Between Sunday and Wednesday, product orders rose 27 percent, according Edison Trends, a digital-commerce researcher. In the same period last year, product orders fell 2 percent.

"There was speculation that the Nike/Kaepernick campaign would lead to a drop in sales, but our data over the last week does not support that theory," Hetal Pandya, co-founder of Edison Trends, said.

The quarterback began protesting police brutality against African Americans by "taking a knee" during the national anthem in 2016. There was a huge backlash from people who believe that his actions were disrespectful, but others did join in his protest.

Nike's new ad comes during a time when customers are looking for brands to be more socially conscious, so it is possible that this bump in sales comes from customers seeking to support Kaepernick's cause. However, news of his involvement in the ad campaign only broke on Monday, and the ad debuted online Wednesday, so it is unclear how sales will be impacted long-term, but for the short-term, Nike is seeing a boost.

Calls for Nike to drop its sponsorship of Kaepernick, who has been with the brand since 2011, began two years ago.

Shares of Nike shed 2.3 percent this week, but are up 28.9 percent since January. It currently has a market cap of $128.8 billion.

Nike said the campaign will also include other athletes such as Serena Williams, LeBron James, Lacey Baker, Shaquem Griffin and Odell Beckham Jr.

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