On September 8, Nike released a new advertisement starring Colin Kaepernick, which led to a giant controversy. It was a tense week as Nike lost $4.2 billion from its market capitalization after featuring the controversial football quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick. However, one Wall Street analyst is calling Nike’s campaign “a stroke of genius” and even upgraded the company’s stock to a buy rating on Tuesday.
“We believe Nike’s new ‘Just Do It’ ad campaign with Colin Kaepernick was a stroke of genius,” Canaccord Genuity’s Camilo Lyon wrote to clients. “This premeditated move was another subtle but significant sign of Nike’s strength and confidence in its position in the marketplace, one that likely does more good than harm.”The analyst added, “It was courageous in that Nike took a stand in support of a social issue where few (if any) companies have of late.”
“It spoke to Nike’s core consumers in a very Nike-esque provocative way that shows it understands them and the issues that matter to them,” Lyon says.
Shares since rallied 1.1 percent on Tuesday following the Canaccord note. Lyon raised his price forecast for the stock as well, advising clients that shares could rally as high as $95 in as little as 12 months, which implies a 15 percent upside from Monday’s close.
The campaign released last Tuesday, paid tribute to the 30th anniversary of Nike’s “Just Do it” slogan and ultimately raised a roar of criticism, but also brought in support from shoppers. Kanye West, in particular, expressed his opinion of the ad on Twitter, writing: “I stand for giving everyone a voice. Adidas giving me a voice and Nike giving Colin voice on a big business level makes the world a more advanced place.”
Kaepernick became center of attention in the NFL after he took a leading role in player protests, kneeling during the national anthem to call attention to racial injustice and social inequality. While other NFL players joined in, many believed it was disrespectful and began boycotting the National Football League.
In result of his actions, he’s gone unsigned by any NFL team since March of 2017.
Nike shares initially dropped 3 percent after publicly releasing the ad campaign, but the company’s online sales skyrocketed. Between Sunday and Wednesday of Labor Day weekend, product orders rose 27 percent, according to a digital-commerce researcher Edison Trends. Within the same period last year, product orders decreased by 2 percent, according to CNBC.
Ultimately, Nike shares have since recouped all of its losses. “Since last year’s announcement of its new ‘Triple Double’ strategy, Nike has most notably accelerated its product engine as evidenced by a flurry of new innovation,” Lyon wrote. “It also has increased its focus on the consumer experience via its SNKRS app, NikePlus membership, and other in store/ online consumer-centric initiatives.”
“These elements, underpinned by Nike’s transformation to an experientially driven company, combine to form catalysts to sustaining mid-teens earnings per share growth for the next three years, an outlook that is increasingly visible and reflective of F2021 earnings power approaching $4.00,” Lyon added.