Why Negative Publicity Sells Faster Than Sex

This image right here has birthed loads of memes, much more than Odunlade can produce in a day.

It started when Colin Kaepernick was revealed as the face of Nike’s 30th anniversary campaign. Apart from being an NFL player, Colin is famous for resisting police brutality against black people. He put his career on the line to fight inhuman treatments meted out by the police in the United States.

To demonstrate his frustration and kick against racial injustice, Colin took a knee two years ago as the national anthem played before the NFL games. This act was largely perceived by Whites as lack of patriotism, a mark of total disregard for the national flag.

Despite the hate, it was shocking to see Nike, a multinational clothing company align with his struggle. They endorsed and unveiled Colin as the face of their brand. The copy of the campaign made it harder to swallow as most Americans felt Colin has sacrificed nothing to deserve such lofty height. The caption reads:

“Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.”

As soon as the image was made public, all hell broke loose. People were seen burning their Nike shoes in protest. They went on social media to display their outrage against the company for embarking on such campaign using the face of an athlete who disrespected the national flag.

Many swore never to buy Nike products anymore. And there were fears in the air that Nike was going down. Of course, it was a calculated risk aimed at making significant footprint in history.

Then the memes begin.

People saw the need the thrive on negativity. They began to post a grayscale image of themselves with a little tweak to the caption. It went viral and made Nike achieve so much visibility.

It was estimated that the amount of visibility Nike have achieved since the campaign started is worth $50 million dollars.

Amazing, isn’t it?  There goes the power of hate.

I’ve always maintained that bad publicity does not exist. Publicity is publicity.

Apart from sex, negative publicity sells like ice cream. The key here is engagement. Everyone is talking about Nike. What else would they have asked for as 30th anniversary present? And to even make it better, they are on the side of the oppressed.

Even though the oppressed in this case may not form a large part of Nike’s customers, the company’s emotional involvement in their struggle is one of empathy for people who couldn’t save themselves from racial injustice and prejudices.

It’s a win-win for the brand.

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4 thoughts on “Why Negative Publicity Sells Faster Than Sex”

  1. Thanks for the insightful article on the issue. Even I that have been an Adidas fan for close 29 years has been won over to start wearing them more.

    I even saw an Adidas meme of Kanye’s infamous quote “slavery was a choice”. Quite hilarious.

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