Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Hip-Hop Re-invention

The relationship between hip-hop’s most well-know rappers and luxury brands is clearly evolving. A couple of years ago, hip-hop artists signed merchandising deals with various fashion brands, although the relationships were not always successful.

With 50 Cent’s G-Unit line and Eminem’s Shady brand now out of business, rappers are consolidating their relationship with more aspirational products.

Rappers are beginning to leverage their business acumen to have a stronger role at the heart of luxury brands, not just as consumers, but increasingly as consultants, and with a role to deliver a new generation of consumers to brands that are in various stages of familiarity with a less traditional consumer base.

Those that are most effective are, unsurprisingly, the most visible and those with the biggest cross-over appeal; Pharrell Williams, Kanye West, Jay-Z, and P Diddy.

Here are some newer ways hip-hop artists are involving themselves with luxury brands:
  • As a luxury spokesperson – Kanye West and Absolut Vodka
  • As an ad agency owner – Jay-Z
  • As a creative director – Pharrell Williams and Louis Vuitton