Negative publicity: Mistake or By Design?
Nike unveiled their Black and Tan trainers in Ireland in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day. In the United States, the Black and Tan is a popular drink, but in Ireland it was the name of a right-wing terrorist group in the early 1920′s that the Royal Irish Constabulary used to try to put down the revolution.
The Black and Tans committed many atrocities against the Irish people, so naming a new shoe after them so many believe that wasn’t a smart move. In this Future of Engagement episode, host Murray Newlands looks at how social media responded to the mishap:
While Murray mentions on the video that Nike should have done their homework, I have to wonder if this wasn’t a calculated move on their part to generate what Murray quotes some referring to as “A Media Circus”.
Prominently on the first page of Google – at least today – for the phrase “Black and Tan” are a Wikipedia entry and the History of the Irish Black and Tans on HistoryLearningSite.co.uk which makes it hard to believe Nike was not aware.
This is especially true given that Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream already created controversy doing the same thing and Nike having a history of offensive ads including a “truly horrible” anti-Christian Nike ad and the Tiger Woods Scandal Nike Ad.
While most brands would avoid negative coverage, there is an old advertising adage that says:
“There is no such thing as bad publicity.”
That is often true because there is a ton of visibility to be gained from it and most of the time the brand will stick in people’s memories much longer than the controversy.
I just hope people realize that what a brand does reflects on their principles.
- Lots of coverage was on Facebook since there were a lot of pictures
- 26% of social media coverage was negative
- Brands can learn to do their homework before they launch brands in other countries
Graphs courtesy of Alerti social media monitoring and management
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What do YOU think about what Nike did?
Would your brand run a campaign that would
generate negative buzz on purpose?
Share your thoughts in the comments below.