By Zac Cornell
Nike has shown a serious commitment throughout this election season to remove barriers and get people to vote. The company’s latest effort to increase voter turnout is the release of their film “You Can’t Stop Our Voice.” Narrated by Regina King and featuring athletes LeBron James, Naomi Osaka, Odell Beckham Jr., Sue Bird, Ja Morant, A’ja Wilson, and Tim Anderson, the film says “you don’t need to be a star to have a voice.”
Nike previously announced partnerships with a number of nonpartisan organizations to promote civic engagement. The company joined Time to Vote, to encourage people to register to vote, timing their partnership announcement with the 55th anniversary of the U.S. Voting Rights Act in August. Hilary Krane, NIKE, Inc. EVP, Chief Administrative Officer and General Counsel explained the partnership saying, “At NIKE, Inc., we believe every voice matters and every vote counts. Regardless of their political affiliation, from education and registration to engagement and participation, Nike will work to support them.” She added, “It feels especially appropriate to make this commitment on the 55th anniversary of the day that our country removed barriers that prevented Black voters from casting their ballots.”
Nike also partnered with Rock the Vote to help people register to vote and access voting information for their state, When We All Vote to provide information and resources to encourage voter participation, and Lyft to provide access to discounted rides and early voting for people who have traditionally had a harder time getting to polls. The Lyft promotion offered up to $10 off a ride for people living in Atlanta, Memphis, Chicago, Baltimore, Houston, Milwaukee, Miami and Portland.
The company’s website has a section devoted to voting, including information on polling locations, requesting an absentee ballot and a voting toolkit. In a year when athletes and sports leagues put significant focus on social movements and politics, it is wise branding and positioning for Nike Inc. to join in the conversation to educate and promote civic engagement in our country. Based on the record-breaking numbers for early voting so far, it is clear that this heightened awareness has made an impact.