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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

White House removes Trump-appointed scientist from overseeing climate report

U.S. President Joe Biden. Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

The Biden administration has removed Trump-appointed atmospheric scientist Betsy Weatherhead from her role overseeing the government's "definitive report on the effects of climate change," the Washington Post first reported Monday.

Why it matters: While Weatherhead has not been fired — merely reassigned to the U.S. Geological Survey — the move represents an effort by the Biden administration to remove Trump-era appointees from scientific roles, per CNN.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Castro era officially ends in Cuba

Diaz-Canel (L) with Raul Castro in 2018. Photo: Ernesto Mastrascusa/Getty Images

The Castro era ended in Cuba on Monday after six decades, with Raúl Castro handing over the reigns of a party founded in 1965 by his brother Fidel.

Why it matters: Miguel Díaz-Canel, 60, now assumes the challenge of maintaining Communist rule while grappling with growing discontent over Cuba's economic stagnation.

Dave Lawler, author of World
1 hour ago - World

Global COVID cases hit record high as virus surges in India

Expand chart
Data: Our World in Data; Chart: Axios Visuals

More COVID-19 cases are now being recorded globally each day than ever before in the pandemic, surpassing the previous global peak in early January.

The big picture: At that time, the U.S. and Europe were driving the surge. This time, the biggest source of new cases is India.

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