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Nike’s commercial cynicism is clear but Colin Kaepernick ad is a sign | Marina Hyde


From the Tiger Woods ‘Did you learn anything?’ advert to denials about the benefits of anti-racism campaigns, Nike are easy to see through. But they do back winners

Once, it used to be said that conservatives start culture wars and liberals win them. That old dependable has felt … less convincing of late. But for those of us looking for runes to read, Nike signing a major endorsement deal with Colin Kaepernick is surely a positive sign. Nike’s market research department is larger and more sophisticated than the second Death Star, and if their cost-benefit analysis judges Kaepernick the one to back in a fight where the other side includes the US president, then frankly: I’ll take it. No, I don’t need the box. I’m wearing it out of the shop.

But first, a recap: the Nike deal was announced via a picture of the former San Francisco 49ers quarterback turned activist Kaepernick staring unsmiling into the camera, superimposed with the words: “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” On social media, the viralissimo reaction was split – far from evenly – between those in raptures, and those doing things like setting fire to sneakers they had already paid for. (Streamlining your wardrobe to own the libs is my new favourite way to own said libs.) The president has already broken his silence, and this one will run and run.

Related: Nike's Colin Kaepernick ad campaign sends 'terrible message', says Donald Trump

Related: Colin Kaepernick grievance set for trial after NFL dismissal request is denied

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