Press Release

September 6th, 2018

Nike & Kaepernick Partnership is Less Polarizing than Social Media Suggests

Nike & Kaepernick Partnership is Less Polarizing than Social Media Suggests

Nike sees success with younger audiences and dodges disapproval from older generations

LOS ANGELES—(BUSINESS WIRE)—Ace Metrix, the leader in measuring the impact of video advertising, today revealed Nike’s partnership with Colin Kaepernick in the ad “Dream Crazy” was well received by viewers, suggesting the social media backlash comes from a small minority. The polarity score for “Dream Crazy” fell within the 10th percentile of all ads, with a majority of gen pop viewers finding the ad agreeable. Peter Daboll, Ace Metrix CEO, noted that, “The fact the ad was less polarizing than average proves Nike pulled off quite a creative feat given the disagreement on both Kaepernick and the NFL kneeling controversy in this country.”

Nike’s partnership with Kaepernick was highly strategic and they demonstrated a clear understanding of their target audience. “Dream Crazy” saw strong resonance among Gen Z and Millennial audiences (on average, Ace Scores were 33% above norm). Older viewers, those among Gen X, positively regarded the ad as well, but to a lesser degree than those younger than them. A few verbatim comments from viewers exhibited some distaste towards Colin Kaepernick’s role as spokesperson, with most coming from those ages 36-49.

Racial inequality is the driving force behind all the controversy that surrounds Kaepernick’s personal brand. Despite that, “Dream Crazy” beat advertising norms across every ethnicity due to the Likeable nature of the message. African Americans, who rated the ad’s performance 42% above advertising norms, found the ad especially Likeable (29% above norm) and Relevant (33% above norm).

A look at Nike and Kaepernick trending on social media suggests consumers were outraged and ready to boycott. However, only 13% of survey respondents reported they were less likely to purchase from Nike after viewing the ad. That dropped to 10% among Millennials and just 6% among the Gen Z audience. On the other hand, 56% of gen pop viewers reported they were more likely to purchase, which is comparable to Nike’s recent, noncontroversial ad that pays tribute to Serena Williams.

Peter Daboll added, “These results show once again that oftentimes, social media backlash can be amplified by media attention while representing only a small minority of haters. Nike is to be commended for executing the messaging so well in this ad. Most objections to such a polarizing figure as Kaepernick were tempered by the very strong Likeability of that message across age, gender and ethnicity.”

Ace Metrix’s groundbreaking scientific emotional fingerprinting offered a more in-depth look at the emotional reaction this ad triggered among viewers. Firing the strongest signal for ‘but’ emotion (in the 99th percentile for this emo among all ads), “Dream Crazy” sparked internal friction within viewers who found something they enjoyed about this ad as well as something that clashed with that liking. In this case, people loved the message (named the single best thing about the ad by 48% of viewers) but took issue with the messenger or the use of well-paid athletes vs. everyday heroes. However, considering that brand is in the athletic apparel industry, the use of athletes was fitting. The ad also received strong signals for “Inspiring,” “Powerful” and “Love-It” emotions, demonstrating viewers’ positive regard towards the message and creative execution as a whole.

About Ace Metrix

Ace Metrix® is the standard in television and digital video analytics, dedicated to measuring the impact of video ad creative. We provide data and insight to enable marketers and creative teams to produce more impactful work, test and adjust creative executions in real-time, and understand what creative drivers impact their brand KPI’s. The Company is privately held and is backed by leading venture capital firms and industry leaders including Hummer Winblad Venture Partners, Palomar Ventures, Leapfrog Ventures and WPP.

Follow Ace Metrix on Twitter for sustained insight: @Ace_Metrix.

PR Contact: Sammi Scharninghausen 650-468-7603 |

Note: Ace Metrix®, the Ace Metrix logo design, Ace Score®, Ace Metrix LIVE® and Creative Lifecycle Management® are registered trademarks of Ace Metrix. Other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

View the full press release on Business Wire.


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