What You Should Admire About Jake Paul vs. Ben Askren
The biggest event in popular culture happened just a few hours ago—and it only lasted for two minutes.
In those two minutes, Jake Paul defeated Ben Askren in a boxing match. Jake Paul is best known as a controversial YouTuber and Ben Askren is best known as a former MMA champion.
What you might not realise is the unprecedented sophistication of Jake Paul’s media and marketing strategy. With this last fight, Jake Paul has built a marketing template for modern media that many traditional marketers are still quick to dismiss, because he’s ‘just a silly YouTuber.’
Jake Paul is a PR genius, one of the best marketers in the world, and only 24 years old.
Pre-Event Build Up
In addition to the traditional pre-fight press conference, both Jake and Ben appeared separately on Logan Paul’s Impaulsive podcast over the last week. Each of these appearances garnered millions of views and allowed the fighters to have a long-form authentic interview that likely wouldn’t work on a traditional medium like a talk show.
Ben Askren released a collection of NFTs called “"Funky Facepalm,” based on an interaction he had with Jake at one of the pre-fight press conferences.
The Event Itself, A Spectacle
Triller Fight Night was an absolute spectacle and definitely more than just a typical boxing event. I give significant credit to Triller’s production team and their creative vision to bring together such massive entertainers.
The event was hosted by comedian Pete Davidson.
Charli D’Amelio, Dixie D’Amelio, and Avani, three of the world’s biggest TikTok stars, handed out championship belts to each winner.
There were several performances by artists such as Justin Bieber, Doja Cat, and Diplo. And Snoop Dogg played a role as one of the main commentators.
Jake Paul went live on Clubhouse minutes leading up to the fight and started talking to people in a crowded Clubhouse room. At one point he said, “I’m about to get warmed up here. Justin Bieber is about to perform. I’m gonna knock this guy out and I’m gonna be back on Clubhouse.”
After the fight, Jake Paul immediately went back onto Clubhouse before he did any official press interviews. It was hilarious and definitely felt both authentic and intimate. Other people started sharing their reactions to the fight and some people had joined the Clubhouse room live from the actual fight venue. At one point Jake said, “Ok, they’re asking me to do the post-fight interview. I’ve gotta go."
Much like Ben Askren, Jake had minted a collection of NFTs based on the fight. HOWEVER, Jake pulled off the brave move of scheduling the NFT drop to go live minutes after the fight.
Imagine if Jake had lost? The price of the NFTs are affected by the outcome of the fight. On the other hand, Ben Askren sold his NFTs before the fight, guaranteeing a certain price expectation without needing to take the fight outcome into consideration.
There is also a live auction for special Jake Paul digital collectibles that lasts until April 20. One of these items is Jake Paul’s digital “rookie card,” which is clearly a direct call out to the booming sports trading card industry, where the most valuable type of card is usually an athlete’s rookie card.
Based on the ranking of the bids, the top bidders will be placed into different reward tiers.
Whether you love Jake Paul or hate Jake Paul, one thing is clear. He serves his fans well. If you’re a Jake Paul fan, you were able to follow him so intimately across different social media platforms pretty much every day before the fight, for hours on the day of the fight, and pretty much every day after the fight.
It’s an experience that no other athlete has executed to the same degree, but I predict many athletes will now try emulating Jake Paul. As one of the most skilled social media influencers in the world, he’s showing us all how to connect with your fanbase.
So here’s a recap of Jake Paul’s marketing blueprint:
Drove excitement leading up to the event through constant content creation that is provocative, intimate and entertaining, which drives tons of free PR.
Made the event as big of a spectacle as possible - with crossover appeal for all types of people in media and entertainment.
Kept going live (on Instagram, Clubhouse, etc.) until even the minutes leading up to the event.
Used a live platform (Instagram and Clubhouse) for his immediate first reaction to the event.
Planned an NFT Drop immediately after his match to capitalise on the post-fight hype.
Created a 3-day live auction with a tiered rewards system to keep people engaged over the next few days.
These principles, strategies, and tactics form a playbook for modern marketing. Every athlete, musician, artist or entertainer should take this blueprint for any product launch.
It’s vertically integrated marketing that disintermediates traditional media structures. Each activity within his marketing infrastructure is direct-to-fan.
Jake is one of the most savvy social media influencers in the world and his marketing execution is brilliant. You should take Jake Paul A LOT more seriously. If you don’t, you might end up like Ben Askren.