Jake Paul: how does his personal brand enhance his marketability?

With over 40 million social media followers and YouTube subscribers, and a 3-0 pro boxing record, Jake Paul has made noise like no other athlete in this generation. Some say Jake’s a marketing genius, from his relentless trolling to the combat sports community and becoming the 3rd most-paid ‘athlete’ in 2020. This blog will discover the strategy behind the Ohio born.

From stealing Floyd Mayweather’s hat, having constant digs at Conor McGregor and Dana White, Jake is one of the most polarising personalities representing combat sports. His actions may seem like desperate gimmicks but, they’ve been crucial to amplifying his tone of voice and garnering the attention he desires. Here’s how.

Conor McGregor call-outs

After defeating retired NBA star Nate Robinson, Jake made a YouTube video calling out McGregor with a lucrative $50m offer for a boxing match that acquired 4.6m+ views. Soon after, Jake and his crew disrupted Conor’s close friend, Dillon Danis. Dillon was filming with US podcaster Brendan Schaub on Brendan’s food truck diaries YouTube series, and Jake’s clique threw water balloons and toilet paper at Dillon.

Not only did both these actions get significant online leverage, but Jake also became the number one Google search result for ‘UFC’, ‘Dillon Danis’ and ‘Conor McGregor’ throughout that week. Jake’s strategy wasn’t to capture Conor’s attention but the eyes of the MMA community, which was a success.  

MMA Chronicles

Following the eyeballs on Jake from the MMA audience, he began receiving call-outs from multiple MMA fighters. Some include Michael Bisping, Dillon Danis, Nate Diaz and Ben Askren. He created a parody series called MMA chronicles to maximise impact, where he made cheesy impressions of MMA stars.

At this point, he realised a fight with Conor McGregor might be too farfetched. Therefore, to gain McGregor’s awareness, he entertained a fight with an MMA star from those calling him out. Then eventually, he landed a boxing match with Ben Askren, which ended in a first-round TKO.

Gotcha hat

As if Logan Paul fighting Floyd Mayweather wasn’t polarising enough for boxing, Jake decided to take things one step further. He stole Floyd Mayweathers hat, which became a viral meme that’s better known as” gotcha hat”. It got heated between Floyd and Jake, which ended up in a press conference brawl. The footage garnered over 5.7m YouTube views, double what the Mayweather vs Paul Sky Sports Boxing highlights received on YouTube.

Arguably, gotcha hat was the biggest piece of promotion towards this event. The press conference received over 2 million views, and the media continuously asked questions about it throughout the fight’s build-up.

The next day, Jake proactively launched his ‘gotcha hat’ merchandise range in tribute to his prank and even got a tattoo on his knee. He’s turned what a viral moment into a monetisation opportunity to optimise the occasion.

Sleepy McGregor

The Ohio born purchased a Conor McGregor pendant, which he calls ‘sleepy McGregor’. It’s designed with diamonds, reportedly valued at $100,000 and is structured the same way Conor got knocked out by Dustin Poirier in their 2nd fight in January. The Instagram video picked up close to 1m plays and caught the attention of many MMA world stars, including Michael Bisping.

This became another marketing opportunity where Jake Paul took Poirier’s side during his feud with McGregor. Jake offered to donate his chain to Dustin to auction the chain and raise funds to Dustin’s charity, the Good Fight Foundation.

At this point, Jakes polarising antics started to gain kudos from some of the combat sports community. Michael Bisping gave credit to Jake because of the donation and appreciating his self-promotional stunts.

Jake started as the villain in the scene, but now, he’s built a micro-audience who appreciate him being an entertaining character.

Advocation for fighter pay

Dana White has been another target of Jake Paul’s confrontations. In June, reports suggested that only 16% of UFC profits go to fighters. There could be truth to fighters being underpaid as Jorge Masvidal, Francis Ngannou, and Jon Jones have expressed to receive pay rises that align closer to their worth.

Jake has made plenty of enemies by entertaining MMA fighters to fight him in the ring. When Paul fought Askren, their fight reportedly did 1.5m PPV sales and over $75m in gate revenue. After Jake beat Ben, Jake criticised Dana White, saying, “maybe it’s time to pay your fighters their fair share? No wonder they all want to get into boxing.”

Paul advocations continued by generously donating $5,000 to UFC Women’s flyweight, Sarah Alpar’s GoFundMe page. This money allowed Sarah to fund training camp fees and expenses.

This initiative shows that there could be more to Jake’s combat sports legacy than just dividing the MMA community with his trolling. It could be the beginning of a social movement to enhance fairer pay and revolutionise the business model of MMA.

Hitlist

Recently, Jake outlined the remaining opponents he wants to face in his boxing career. Some ambitious names included pound-for-pound no.1, Canelo Alvarez and 25-0, Gervonta Davis. In less than 24 hours, it provoked a reaction out of Davis, which led to Jake creating a range of memes to taunt the fighter.

Over the weekend, these have been some of Jake’s most engaged tweets. Regardless if he goes ahead with fighting these aspiring opponents or not, it will likely gain a reaction out of their fanbases and create a discussion from pivotal names in the combat sports world.

Once again, simple execution of Jake Paul’s self-promotional strategy.

Boxing bullies

This move was one that most wouldn’t have seen coming. The 3-0 boxer has created a non-profit anti-bullying charity, Boxing Bullies, to instil confidence, courage and leadership in the youth through boxing.

The project intends to train 100 kids in boxing and is a chance to impact boxing from the grassroots level. There’s been plenty of controversy around the influencer boxing trend becoming a ‘money grab’ for those involved, and it deprives opportunity of the grassroots. But this initiative counters that argument as Jake has set up with his huge audiences influencer to support disadvantaged youth through boxing.

The Problem Bot

Jake also has his own boxing mascot called ‘the problem bot. Its introduction was made in the Triller Fight Club chaos against Ben Askren; since then, Problem Bot has acquired over 58,000 Instagram followers, and over 1 million video plays.

Jake has created a new wave of entertainment during the influencer boxing trend, potentially inspiring how upcoming fighters can market themselves differently and effectively to gain leverage.


It’s evident Jake’s personal brand is fueled by polarisation, controversy and provoking a reaction. His cheesy gimmicks have been pivotal towards his self-promotion in the combat sports world to gain attention. Still, once he achieved this, he’s been efficient to build allies by advocating for fairer fighter pay and supporting boxing from the grassroots level.

Published by Ash

I'm a First-Class Graduate in Sports Business Management who has worked across Local Government, Sport and the Third Sector. Throughout my career, I've developed a thriving passion to promote sport being used as a tool to bring positivity to the world we live in. This ethos has inspired me to create a website which champions this value through comprehensive online content for you to gain value from. Join me on this journey of discovering what sport can do to enhance society.

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