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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

Scoop: Gina Haspel threatened to resign over plan to install Kash Patel as CIA deputy

CIA Director Gina Haspel. Photo: Win McNamee/Getty Images

CIA Director Gina Haspel threatened to resign in early December after President Trump cooked up a hasty plan to install loyalist Kash Patel, a former aide to Rep. Devin Nunes (R-Calif.), as her deputy, according to three senior administration officials with direct knowledge of the matter.

Why it matters: The revelation stunned national security officials and almost blew up the leadership of the world's most powerful spy agency. Only a series of coincidences — and last minute interventions from Vice President Mike Pence and White House counsel Pat Cipollone — stopped it.

Updated 6 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Coronavirus dashboard

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

  1. Health: Coronavirus deaths reach 4,000 per day as hospitals remain in crisis mode — CDC warns highly transmissible coronavirus variant could become dominant in U.S. in March.
  2. Politics: Biden says, "We will manage the hell out of" vaccine distribution — Biden taps ex-FDA chief to lead Operation Warp Speed amid rollout of COVID plan — Widow of GOP congressman-elect who died of COVID-19 will run to fill his seat.
  3. Vaccine: Battling Black mistrust of the vaccines"Pharmacy deserts" could become vaccine deserts — Instacart to give $25 to shoppers who get vaccine.
  4. Economy: Unemployment filings explode againFed chair: No interest rate hike coming any time soon —  Inflation rose more than expected in December.
  5. World: WHO team arrives in China to investigate pandemic origins.

John Weaver, Lincoln Project co-founder, acknowledges “inappropriate” messages

John Weaver aboard John McCain's campaign plane in February 2000. Photo: Robert Schmidt/AFP via Getty Images)

John Weaver, a veteran Republican operative who co-founded the Lincoln Project, declared in a statement to Axios on Friday that he sent “inappropriate,” sexually charged messages to multiple men.

  • “To the men I made uncomfortable through my messages that I viewed as consensual mutual conversations at the time: I am truly sorry. They were inappropriate and it was because of my failings that this discomfort was brought on you,” Weaver said.
  • “The truth is that I'm gay,” he added. “And that I have a wife and two kids who I love. My inability to reconcile those two truths has led to this agonizing place.”

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