From Nike to Carlsberg, via John Lewis and Waitrose, advertising and branding seem to be taking a socially conscious turn. Despite many brands taking a stand on social issues, few come across as genuinely authentic.

With Nike’s Dream Crazy ad with Colin Kaepernick, the brand received polarized reactions, with well-publicised burning of Nike shoes and ripping logos off of socks from those against the campaign. Those who supported the campaign lavished Nike with praise for their open support of Kaepernick and commitment to their brand values. It was also another win for Nike’s consistently impressive advertising output. 

So why are ad agencies and big companies now taking a stand on social issues?

After all, it’s an incredibly bold tactic, when you risk alienating a large section of your consumer base who may think differently, or simply frown upon political commentary from a consumer brand.

It’s a high-risk, high-reward strategy, as millennials and the even more ‘woke’ Generation Zers who are coming through with disposable income and big social ideas, are buying into brands with purpose. We’ll say it until we’re blue in the face, but it’s the old Simon Sinek theory, people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it. And it is a masterclass in brand purpose from Nike.