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A Nike ad featuring Colin Kaepernick in New York City. Photo: Angela Weiss/AFP/Getty Images.

Nike’s stock leveled out Monday after the company's bumpy week of mixed consumer and shareholder reviews due to its decision to feature former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in its 30th anniversary "Just Do It" campaign.

Why it matters: Polling shows consumers have favored brands for picking sides on social issues in the past, but the Kaepernick campaign hit a particularly raw nerve in today's culture wars as driven by President Trump. Nike took a dip in favorability — shoes were burned, swooshes were defaced and Trump tweeted Nike was "getting absolutely killed" from the decision — all as Nike's online sales trended upward.

By the numbers:

  • Between the Sunday of Labor Day weekend and Wednesday, Nike's sales rose 31%, according Edison Trends, a digital-commerce researcher. In the same period last year, product orders fell 2%.
  • Nike pulls in $43 million worth of free media exposure despite public backlash, according to Apex Marketing, Bloomberg reports.
  • After a 3% stock dip from the initial news, Nike stock regained 93% of the decline, per MarketWatch.
  • Nearly 60% thought brands should take a position on controversial issues no matter what, rising to 83% when combined with those who wanted companies to take a stance only if it related to their products or services, according to a report from eMarketer.

The other side: A Morning Consult poll released right after the campaign launched showed Nike’s brand favorability dropped 34 points from a net +69 favorable impression (76% favorable, 7% unfavorable) among consumers to a net +35 favorable impression (60% favorable, 24% unfavorable), per Axios' Sara Fischer.

  • According to the poll, before Nike announced Kaepernick as the face of its ad campaign, only 2% of Americans reported hearing something negative about Nike recently. That number increased to 33% after the announcement.

Go deeper

Battle for the soul of a new web

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

A well-funded and intensely motivated chunk of tech's hive mind is finding common cause in a vast new project: rebuilding the web on a foundation of cryptocurrency and blockchain tech. They call it "Web3."

The big picture: Developers, investors and early adopters imagine a future in which the technologies that enable Bitcoin and Ethereum will break up the concentrated power today's tech giants wield and usher in a golden age of individual empowerment and entrepreneurial freedom.

Thanksgiving box office shows theaters have long road to recovery

Photo of Disney's "Encanto;" Credit: Disney

Box office ticket sales over the Thanksgiving holiday show that consumer confidence in moviegoing is slowly improving, but not enough to bring the struggling theater industry back to pre-pandemic levels anytime soon, if ever.

Why it matters: "We may have to temper expectations a bit" for next year, said Comscore senior media analyst Paul Dergarabedian.

Tina Reed, author of Vitals
46 mins ago - Health

Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world

Photo: Phill Magakoe/AFP via Getty Images

The emergence of the Omicron variant is bringing new urgency to global vaccination efforts.

Why it matters: New variants can emerge anywhere, and can spread everywhere. Getting doses to the developing world — and getting those doses into people's arms — is essential, and that effort has so far been lagging.

You’ve caught up. Now what?

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