Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Nike's Colin Kaepernick TV Ad isn't Controversial, it's Inspirational and Very Successful

After the release of Nike's new campaign with Colin Kaepernick, many decided to boycott the global brand. Numerous videos were uploaded online of people burning their Nike shoes and cutting up their Nike apparel.

Kaepernick’s “Just Do It” ad, which bears the slogan “Believe in Something. Even if it means sacrificing everything,” seems, on its face, to be more politically divisive than any campaign in Nike’s history—praised from the left for giving Kaepernick a platform to continue speaking out against police brutality and racial injustice, and vilified from the right by the likes of Sean Hannity, who remains determined to cast Kaepernick as unpatriotic and disrespectful. In reality, however, Nike’s standing with Kaepernick has nothing to do with politics and everything to do with the fact that he has transformed himself into an icon. For Nike, Kaepernick’s cause is simply good business—if it were anything other than a cynical branding exercise, the company would surely not be simultaneously doing business with the NFL, which has done its best to stifle Kaepernick’s protest movement.

President Donald Trump has made his name from sales of everything from suits to steak, but this is his first time selling sneakers — even though that probably wasn’t his intention.

Nike sales jumped by 31 percent after debuting quarterback-turned-activist Colin Kaepernick as a new company spokesman — and market observers say the president’s public displays of anger may have backfired by drawing more attention to Nike.

“Controversial endorsements tend to generate a lot of hype,” said Marshal Cohen, chief industry analyst for retail at The NPD Group, a market research firm. “These kinds of statements and brand partnerships make for a big impact on brand selling.”

According to data from Edison Trends, online sales of Nike products jumped 31 percent between the Sunday before and the Tuesday after Labor Day, nearly double last year’s 17 percent increase over the same time period. Kaepernick is part of Nike’s 30th anniversary of its “Just Do It” tagline. A TV ad narrated by Kaepernick debuted Thursday on the opening night of the regular NFL season.

“Nike is a company that is focused on younger generations and expanding their market. This ad did that for them,” said Hetal Pandya, co-founder of Edison Trends.

But if Trump is no stranger to controversy, neither is Nike. The company’s decision to use Kaepernick, who is currently claiming the league colluded against his employment in a lawsuit, isn’t the first time the athletic apparel company has used its brand platform to advocate for a cause or push for social change. Previous ad campaigns have taken on AIDS, gender inequality, disabilities, religion, and other cultural flashpoints.

“The brand has a rich history of positioning itself as a progressive company that connects with its customers through conflict constructive conflict,” Pandya told NBC News.

Experts say that by continuing to insert himself into the ongoing debate regarding NFL players kneeling during the national anthem, Trump may have inadvertently helped out Nike by criticizing the brand on Twitter.

“Nike is getting absolutely killed with anger and boycotts,” Trump wrote last week, and video clips of people destroying Nike products quickly went viral. But contrary to Trump’s assertion, while calls for a boycott across social media dragged down the company’s stock immediately after the news broke, share prices have since recovered.

Drafting Kaepernick as a spokesman has more upside than downside risk for Nike, analysts say, because the company knows its customer base well. Market research from YouGov Plan and Track shows that 46 percent of Nike customers have a positive view of Kaepernick, compared to 34 percent of all Americans. YouGov also found a 10 percentage point increase in the number of Nike customers versus the general public who say a company should take a stand on social issues and have a “moral message.”

“The company understands societal trends and its customer demographics better than most,” Edison Trends’ Pandya said. “It’s a calculated risk, but one that our data shows has had a positive impact so far in terms of online sales.”

“In this case, controversy is a good thing to their target market,” NPD’s Cohen said. “Consumers who are most likely to shop online, and shop athletic apparel and footwear, are very much in tune with the movement and the willingness for a mega-brand to stand up against the establishment.”

Written by Martha C. White and  Joshua Hunt

Walking is Still the Starting Line for Fitness


Being physically active is one of the most important steps people can take to improve their health.

Yet despite everything we know about the benefits of exercise, only half of U.S. adults and only about a quarter of high school students get the amount recommended in national guidelines.

If you haven't gotten onboard with the program, it's easy to start, & walking is a perfect path to fitness. That's because it doesn't require any special skills or expensive equipment. Just a good pair of shoes.

Walking not only gets you aerobically fit, it can help with problems such as insomnia, diabetes and even a depressed mood. Walking also has a lower risk of injury than high-impact activities like running. And you can walk year-round, indoors or out.

Start at your own speed and walk in short increments, say for five minutes three times a day. Then gradually increase both length and intensity over time as you develop stamina.

Depending on where you live, however, you may not be able to just walk out of your front door and go. More than 30 percent of people 16 or older live in neighborhoods without sidewalks. The U.S. Surgeon General has called on communities to make walking more accessible to residents. Until then, ironically, you may have to drive to take a walk at a park or on a school track, for instance.

Keep in mind that you can walk at your convenience if you have a home treadmill. These machines aren't just for running, plus they can also keep track of miles logged and calories burned, and many can be set to increase the difficulty of your workouts.

Eating Before Early Workout Helps Burn Carbs

If you exercise in the morning, it may be a good idea to eat breakfast first.

A small British study finds that having breakfast before a morning workout triggers the body to burn more carbohydrates during exercise and also speeds digestion afterward.

The study included 12 healthy men who did an hour of cycling in the morning. They either had a breakfast of porridge made with milk two hours before exercise, or had breakfast after they exercised.

The researchers tested the blood glucose levels and muscle glycogen levels of the volunteers. They found that eating breakfast increased the rate at which the body burned carbohydrates during exercise, and increased the rate the body digested and metabolized food eaten after exercise, too.

"This is the first study to examine the ways in which breakfast before exercise influences our responses to meals after exercise," study co-leader Javier Gonzalez, a senior lecturer at the University of Bath, said in a school news release.

Study co-leader Rob Edinburgh is a Ph.D. student at the university. "We also found that breakfast before exercise increases carbohydrate burning during exercise, and that this carbohydrate wasn't just coming from the breakfast that was just eaten, but also from carbohydrate stored in our muscles as glycogen," he said.

"This increase in the use of muscle glycogen may explain why there was more rapid clearance of blood sugar after 'lunch' when breakfast had been consumed before exercise," Edinburgh said.

"This study suggests that, at least after a single bout of exercise, eating breakfast before exercise may 'prime' our body, ready for rapid storage of nutrition when we eat meals after exercise," he added.

The study was published Aug. 15 in the American Journal of Physiology: Endocrinology and Metabolism.

"As this study only assessed the short-term responses to breakfast and exercise, the longer-term implications of this work are unclear, and we have ongoing studies looking at whether eating breakfast before or after exercise on a regular basis influences health," Edinburgh noted.