Marketing the sacrifice

A roiled audience overwhelms the gates


  • Edgar Simpson University of Southern Mississippi
  • Elina Erzikova Central Michigan University
  • Joshua Hendricks University of Southern Mississippi
  • Natalie Battens Central Michigan University
  • Lisa Gandy Central Michigan University


Twitter, gatekeeping, drowning effect


In analyzing 90,000 tweets associated with Nike’s selection of controversial NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick for its 2018 marketing campaign, this study found the audience largely diverged from the company’s primary message. By deploying the emerging theory of the “drowning effect” as a subcategory of overall gatekeeping, researchers found the audience used five rhetorical tactics to discuss seven primary themes.


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