Sun, Sep 09, 2018 - Page 10 News List

Nike campaign signals change in shoe politics

AP

The relationship began in the 1980s, when Nike, Adidas, Reebok and Converse became staples of black fashion, and young African-Americans sought to emulate the stars of the day, like Jordan, Run-DMC and other figures associated with the burgeoning hip-hop culture. Footwear came to symbolize status and street style. Sneakerheads lined up outside stores to get the newest shoes.

Companies “have made millions off of following trends from the black community, and so they have to be cognizant of the feelings of that community,” said Antonio S Williams, who teaches sports marketing at Indiana University. “It only takes one or two incidents for shoes to be pushed aside and declared uncool and left behind, so they are very aware of the cultural exchanges and trends going on in their base communities.”

Nike does not seem to be backing down. Its two-minute commercial, highlighting Kaepernick, James, Serena Williams and others, aired on Thursday during the NFL’s season opener.

Nike has likely figured out that its core consumers — the people who regularly buy its sneakers and clothes — are probably the millennials and young minorities who already support Kaepernick or at least do not mind the stance he is taking, Antonio Williams said.

“Nike wants to be on the right side of history and the right side of its core consumers,” he said.

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