#BoycottNike vs. #KavaNOPE: Which protest was more effective?
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#BoycottNike vs. #KavaNOPE: Which protest was more effective?

#BoycottNike
#KavaNOPE
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Two protests took place this week on both sides of the ideological spectrum. While conservative sports fans and wearers of athletic attire burned their shoes in response to Nike's decision to partner with Colin Kaepernick, liberal women filed into the Senate hearing for Supreme Court candidate Brett Kavanaugh to disrupt the proceedings and get themselves arrested. Everyone's passionate about their cause, but which protest worked the best?

5 Days Until Voting Ends
#BoycottNike
#KavaNOPE

Messaging: What was the point of each protest? 

Just in time for the opening of the 2018-19 NFL season, Nike released the face of its new 'Just Do It' campaign: Colin Kaepernick. Nike dropped a black and white portrait of Kaepernick with the words, "Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything," running across the scorned athlete's face. 

The firestorm—literally—erupted shortly thereafter. #BoycottNike took to Twitter, causing an uproar from former Nike customers claiming they would boycott the athletics giant for supporting Kaepernick. 

Liberal interest groups rushed to organize protests to counter Republican's frantic push to confirm Judge Brett Kavanaugh. The Women's March spearheaded an action in which "women, femmes, and allies" disrupted the hearing every few minutes, drawing arrests and delaying the proceedings. Women were arrested for silently holding space in another public building, while dressed as characters from "The Handmaid's Tale."

Rationale: Which protest makes more sense? 

Amid flames and defaced socks, it seems both Nike and Kaepernick have come out as the winners of the so-called “boycott.” According to Money, Nike’s campaign and the ensuing uproar created no less than $43 million worth of media exposure in the 24 hours following the campaign debut (most of that buzz ranging from neutral to positive).

By taking to Twitter, #BoycottNike supporters only upped their nemesis' mentions, and according to sports marketing executive at Baker Street Advertising:

That far outweighs the risk of alienating some customers.

While some protesters said they hoped to merely shed light on what they saw as unjust hearings, some activists were looking to end the proceedings in their entirety. Per The New York Times

"My goal is for this nomination to not go through," said Alison Dreith, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Missouri, who was arrested Tuesday. "The stakes have never been higher."
It may be a quixotic goal. Republicans have the votes to confirm Kavanaugh and are expected to do so. The protesters are adding their voices to the outnumbered committee Democrats, who tried to delay the hearings, arguing that important documents about Kavanaugh have been withheld.

Action: What tactics did the protesters use?

#BoycottNike began with the destruction of Nike merchandise and sharing irate reactions on Twitter. But supporters of Nike and #BoycottNike both point out that a much better action for those who disagree with the Kaepernick campaign would be to donate their—clearly disposable—products to veterans in need.

The action involved with #BoycottNike remains mostly passive. Burning shoes and refusing to buy shoes only goes so far when Nike gains endless publicity in the process. 

Overall, over 70 people were arrested in conjunction with protests in D.C. Protesters staged sit-ins in the local offices of senators and gathered across the country to make their dissent known

Supporters: Who is behind the protest? 

#BoycottNike supporters see Nike’s allegiance with Kaepernick in the same light as kneeling during the National Anthem: it disrespectful to the country, and the men and women who give up their lives to protect it.

Burning sneakers may be pointless when it comes to supporting those troops, but the action does effectively demonstrate the passion and anger entrenched in this topic, which is, in its own way, a success.

This protest’s supporters are hard-set. Nike’s publicity may be skyrocketing, but there’s no question that this group means it when they ‘boycott.’

According to the Women's March, protesters were organized by a variety of groups including Planned Parenthood, NARAL and others. 

Whether we have ever or will ever be pregnant, our right as women to decide what happens to our bodies is one we MUST protect. We refuse to play by the rules when our lives are on the line.
Beginning September 4th, a coalition of 20 women’s organizations will gather in Washington, D.C. to look our Senators in the eye and remind them that women across America are watching.
This Supreme Court will determine the future of women’s rights, voting rights, gun safety, LGBTQIA+ rights, the environment, and the right to be free from discrimination in this country. We cannot allow our children and grandchildren to have fewer rights than we do. If Senators vote to gut Roe, criminalize abortion, and punish women for making choices about our own bodies, they leave us with no other choice than to disobey.
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