“It doesn’t matter how many people hate your brand as long as enough people love it. . . You can’t be afraid of offending people. You can’t try and go down the middle of the road. You have to take a stand on something.” – Phil Knight, Founder of Nike

The Pink Goldfish of Antagonizing is about intentionally irritating, aggravating, and instigating. Co-author David Rendall and I advocate for purposefully going out of your way to rub some people the wrong way.

Just over two years ago, Nike released an incredibly controversial ad campaign featuring Colin Kaepernick, the former NFL quarterback, who was revered and reviled for taking a knee during the national anthem to protest police brutality.

In the ads, Nike’s tagline was printed over the face of Kaepernick:

Believe in something,
even if it means
sacrificing everything

The response was extreme. People were talking about it, but they were also taking action.

– People predicted the end of Nike, a loss of sales and stock value. People burned their shoes and jerseys.

– People predicted the resurgence of Nike, a rise in sales and stock price. People bought their shoes and jerseys.

As of October, Nike’s stock is now up 59% since the campaign.

Takeaway: Take a stand on something. Antagonize.