His hidden clasp demonstrates how kickback energizes his substance rather than smothering it.
The situation has been reversed.
Although Nike was once well-known for its traditional twisting trap marketing strategies, such as its informal attack on the 1996 Olympics, it is now considered a foundation player. Its weight is leveraged against it by an emerging symbol.
To promote his new single, “Industry Baby,” which will be released on Friday, rap star Lil Nas X has turned his new legal and public relations battle with Nike into an all-out marketing strategy, rendering any legal expenses he may have incurred in the process appear insignificant in comparison to the exposure and esteem he has received in exchange for his assistance.
This week, Lil Nas X released a teaser video, produced by Smuggler’s Tony Yacenda, that was a direct reference to Nike’s legal attempt to obstruct the artist’s limited-edition Satan Shoes collection, which consisted of 666 pairs of Nike Air Max 97 shoes that had been modified by MSCHF Product Studio to include allusions to Satan.
MSF’s settlement (Lil Nas X was not a party to the agreement) included a promise to discount Satan shoe purchasers to remove them from circulation, which undoubtedly increased the shoes’ popularity among sneakerheads and Lil Nas X fans. As reported by Reuters, MSCHF’s legal counsel stated that Nike’s lawful testing of the shoe line “dramatically amplified” the creative message the studio wished to convey with the line, which MSCHF described as an examination of “the absurdity of the collaboration culture practiced by some brands.”
With Nike’s feature of causing a lawful disturbance, combined with traditional reaction against the homoeroticism and tough subjects of his March music video for “Montero (Call Me By Your Name),” Lil Nas X had a fertile field in which to develop the advertising technique for his next single, “Industry Baby.”
According to the rapper, the teaser video depicts Lil Nas X in court, shielding himself facing Nike when also being asked about his sexuality. According to the creators, the limited-time cut had generated more than 6 million views on Twitter in 2 days and nearly 2 million views on YouTube.
Taking advantage of both love and spite
An Austin-based senior social tactician named Angela Brown believes Lil Nas X’s mystery video showcased his ability to harness energy from his most incredible fans and his most vocal detractors, utilizing every discussion to create a genuinely captivating substance.
“It’s just so smart that he’s able to take the time to think about what’s going to actually make sense for people who follow him and also for what’s going to create conversation—even among people who don’t like him,” Brown said.
Indeed, even with Lil Nas X’s penchant for accepting criticism, Brown said she was surprised to hear him mention Nike by name in the introduction of the teaser video, which begins with a title card that reads, “Nike versus Lil Nas X, Supreme Court of the United States, July 19, 2021.”
“I did think that was really bold of him to actually call them out,” she said of the incident. “Usually it’s more subliminal. You’re trying to avoid another legal situation. Usually with the huge brands like a Nike or Adidas, you don’t take the risk.”
On Wednesday, Lil Nas X talked about legalization one step further by hinting at the possibility of “financial compensation” for those who watched the “Montero” video, which is on its way to breaking the 300 million view barrier YouTube.
While he hasn’t explicitly stated whether he would be sending cash to a portion of the company’s stockholders, it wouldn’t come as a surprise, given that he also relocated in April.
It is a case of doubling down on the contention.
The ability to build quickly off legitimate and strict debates isn’t so much a curve in Lil Nas X’s profession as it is a continuation of his vocation as both an artist and a development programmer. Before and after composing his breakout hit “Old Town Road,” Lil Nas X built up a following through intelligent utilization of social media and advanced content, but it was the controversy surrounding Billboard’s decision to remove “Old Town Road” from its Hot Country Songs chart that propelled the performer into the mainstream spotlight.
“The thing Lil Nas X does better than anyone else is doubling down on the controversy all while staying true to himself,” brand planner Philip Pirkovic wrote in Adweek after the “Montero” video started shock that Lil Nas X had the option to switch over to positive exposure after the footage began surprise that Lil Nas X had the opportunity to change over to positive direction after the video started shock. The arrival of “Industry Baby” will almost certainly be the beginning stage of another promoting opportunity rather than the conclusion. While few artists devote nearly as much time and effort to effective marketing as Lil Nas X, the release of “Old Town Road,” and the release of “Montero” are sure to be the beginning stage and not the conclusion of another promoting opportunity.