Jameel Spencer, chief marketing officer for Rocawear, justified the ad, insisting the goal of the campaign is to tell stories of people who overcome adversity.And undoubtedly, some brand "experts" would rush to say that linking your brand to such a controversial court case is a dumb move. Things could go badly. And you can bet the defense team is going to air out all of Sean Bell's dirty laundry. And on and on.
"It embodies the spirit of how Rocawear was born - how hip-hop was born," said Spencer. "We're trying to highlight different stories.
"Nicole, she really embodies the overall spirit of that. She's someone who's suffered a great loss. When that happens, you want to curl up in a ball and die. That's a tough thing. The day you're supposed to get married and something horrible happens."
But the target market for Rocawear isn't brand experts, now is it? But a quick look at the comments rolling into urban, hip-hop and pop-culture sites will show you that -- whether or not you agree with the move -- Jay-Z and the folks behind the brand knew exactly what they were doing.