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On Being Fearless

Colin-Kaepernick-Nike-759x500Destination Marketing typically tip-toes through the tulips. Gorgeous images and video is typically offered, to be sure, but does the message challenge...or just suggest? Nebraska infamously said "It's Not for Everyone," last year...but most DMOs play it safe. Should we? 

Let's take a look at Nike's controversial fall campaign, centered on Colin Kaepernick. For those that don't follow the NFL, Colin used his celebrity as a Pro Quarterback to draw attention to racial injustice by kneeling during the National Anthem before nationally televised games. He became a lightning rod, and no longer is employed by any NFL team.

This past autumn, Nike prominently featured Kaepernick in a campaign that put forth the proposition that one should "Believe in something even if it means sacrificing everything."

Pundits said Nike was crazy. They predicted boycotts and stock market tumbles.

Instead, Nike stock hit an all-time high. Sales in the month after the campaign dropped were sensational.

So, how were the conservative talking heads so wrong? They didn't understand that those that would be the most pissed off about the campaign weren't Nike's target market. Nike's base understands all too well what Colin is about...and that his message resonates. That standing for something means something. And, in the end, Nike solidified its hold on its target market.

Something to ponder as you contemplate this year's campaign, eh? Not every destination stands for something. But, if yours does, is it time to take a chance to double down on those who love you?



Bill Geist

Bill GeistBill Geist

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