A marketing executive on CNBC’s “Squawk Box” said on a Wednesday morning that Nike should have anticipated the controversy around the “Betsy Ross” flag it has featured on its sneakers.
The CEO of Motus One and founder of 2050 Marketing, Mike Jackson said that the young consumers of Nike who are really passionate about the brand can tell you clearly that there’s a symbolism here which has been chosen by a group of people that they don’t wish to get associated with.
Students at a high school in Michigan held the 13-star flag during a football match in 2016, at the time causing the head of the local section of the NAACP to say that the flag was “co-opted by exclusionary movements,” including groups supporting racial supremacy.
But Jackson said that Nike’s choice to pull off the sneakers from the market was an intelligent decision and that it should go back to the messaging it presented when it endorsed the right Colin Kaepernick to protest or when the brand motivated young females all around the world to join the sports field.
He said that this was quite consistent with the culture that Nike has created and it’s brand’s positioning. When a brand begins to sway into using a version of the flag which has different meaning and relevance for different people, that’s where the problem begins and the line a brand shouldn’t linger upon.
Nike was engrossed in a deep pool of controversies after it released sneakers featuring a flag, usually associated with Betsy Ross, but pulled it back after a former NFL football player, Kaepernick said he considered it as offensive.
However, historians are still not sure of the flag’s relationship with white supremacy movements, and many people simply see the flag as a common historic flag.
Nike said that the company pulled out the sneakers as it didn’t want to unintentionally harm or offend and detract from the nation’s patriotic holiday.