Case Study: The Best and the Worst Hip-Hop Inspired Marketing Campaigns

February 1, 2011  |  

By Brittany Hutson

As hip-hop became the soundtrack for a younger generation, companies took notice and have been utilizing hip-hop’s prime players to endorse their products in the hopes of reaching those younger and potential consumers. Mike Street, senior digital strategist for Syndicate Media Group, a communications and marketing agency, explains that in order for a company to have a successful marketing campaign featuring hip-hop artists, brand managers must find an artist who is aligned with the culture and mission of the product. “If the artist doesn’t even really use the product or have a passion for the product, consumers will see right through it and it will be money wasted,” he said.

TAP consulted with marketing experts to critique some of hip-hop’s more successful inspired marketing campaigns, as well as those that fell short.

Mos Def and Air Jordan XVI

Nike and Michael Jordan made a slam dunk in 2001 when they combined “basketball, hip-hop and sneakers into the perfect 30 second piece of art,” said Street. To promote the company’s Air Jordan XVI sneaker, Mos Def was tapped to include his melodious track “Umi Says” from his solo debut album, Black on Both Sides, as the commercial’s background music. Even today, people still associate Mos Def’s “Umi Says” to the Air Jordan XVI commercial.

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