Nike sees stock swoosh upward, while Melnyk’s video just doesn’t do it

Bulls of the Week

For the second consecutive week, “Just Do It” has been among the most bullish rallying cries in North American professional sport.

It made headlines 10 days ago when Colin Kaepernick was unveiled as a key face of the Nike advertising campaign to promote the 30th anniversary of the iconic slogan.

The polarized response of the marketplace was punctuated by a few days of social video showing some fans burning their Nike shoes and a $2 billion dip in market capitalization for the company. Yet, by the opening weekend of the NFL season, Nike online sales had spiked by 31 per cent.

By the end of this past week, the Just Do It video had received record “likes” on social media and Nike stock had reached record heights, closing at US$83.49 on Friday after reaching an all-time high of US$83.57 on Thursday.

That means the initial $2 billion drop became a $5 billion increase in corporate value since the Kaepernick deal was announced. Swoosh. indeed!

Bears of the Week

Eugene Melnyk — the owner and now self-styled president and Chief Executive Officer of the Ottawa Senators — said it all Monday night: “Right now, we’re kind of in the dumpster.”

Speaking as part of an awkward in-house video production of a five-minute, 47-second interview for his team website senators.com, Melnyk was his own worst enemy.

First of all, if the video wasn’t his idea, he should have never agreed to the flawed concept in the first place. It violated best practices on so many fronts, from PR and broadcast production to brand management and fan engagement.

Melnyk should have realized having Senators’ depth defenceman Mark Borowiecki conduct the interview was a bad idea, especially given his comments about reshaping the Ottawa roster to include 10 rookies this year and then up to 15 or 16 next season. That would have been music to bubble player Borowiecki’s ears, wouldn’t it?

He also should have been counselled to leave the roster selection process to Pierre Dorion, his embattled GM who is operating in one of the most skeleton-like hockey operations departments in hockey.

He shouldn’t have done that kind of communication without addressing the elephant in the room: The future of popular, talented and committed Senators’ captain Erik Karlsson. And if nothing else, he should have been advised to wear a current Adidas jersey in deference to the official jersey supplier of the Senators and the NHL, instead of an outdated Reebok jersey from years gone by.

Melnyk consolidated his status as the most dysfunctional of owners among the seven Canadian-based NHL franchises if not the entire league. He deservedly drew the ire not only of Ottawa fans who detest him, but of hockey fans across the country who couldn’t help but watch the viral train wreck on YouTube.

Melnyk even made the stumbling Montreal Canadiens look stellar in comparison, even during a week in which the Habs also made the rare move of trading their team captain, sending Max Pacioretty to the Vegas Golden Knights.

Melnyk is clearly the Bear of the Week. But almost as bearish is the outlook for at least three of the seven Canadian-based NHL clubs, with the Canadiens, Senators and Canucks in various stages of rebuild and all seemingly operating without a clear identity of who they are or who they want to become.

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