Popular labels such as Yves Saint Laurent and Maybach declare that the constant repetition of their brand names in Hip-Hop songs have led to negative sales results. With some exception with popular rappers, luxury brands have problems holding down this trend. After the 2Chainz sang about his YSL belt buckle in “No Lie”, the YSL’s management decided to drop their “easily mentionable abbreviation” and adopt Saint Laurent Paris instead.
“It is to send a signal to artists who throw the name around playfully. This distances the brand from hip hop but it also distances the brand from caricature”, Web Smith said.
Is Hip-Hop influence on luxury brands only negative? Is this issue cultural related?
I personally don’t think so and nor do Steve Stoute. Stoute wrote a book about the same topic called “The tanning of America”. Stoute has been the brains behind Jay-Z’s Reebok sneaker, Justin Timberlake’s “I’m Lovin’ It” jingle for McDonald’s, and a host of other campaigns with an array of stars from Lady Gaga to Beyoncé.
“Hip-hop has established a new, pan-ethnic sort of cool—one with an appeal that reaches far beyond the sort of demographics that Madison Avenue old-timers might expect. A sneaker line fronted by Jay-Z, for example, appeals not only to black consumers, but to whites, Hispanics, Asians, and so on, much like hip-hop itself”.
Stoute warns that advertising isn’t as simple as showering a popular rapper with money to do a commercial for your product. He points to recent collaborations between Pitbull and Kodak, a brand Stoute sees as having major identity issues, as well as Dr. Pepper.
“You can’t assume that people just want to sit around dancing and drink soda,” he explains. “Play the music, drink the soda … there’s nothing about it that’s compelling except for, ‘Look, Pitbull is doing it, so you should do it, too.’”
Personally, I found Stoute’s book thoughtful and relevant. It should be required reading for advertising executives, especially those who count themselves among the Baby Boomer generation.
If you are interested in knowing who are the five most influential people in Hip-Hop right now, you might want to check this radio interview with Steve Stout disclousing their names.