Girls Just Wanna Have Fun, Damn It.

It turns out that Cyndi Lauper’s 1983 hit “Girls Just Wanna Have Fun”—an upbeat, female anthem—was written by none other than a man who was looking to make a point about how many women he’d slept with. I didn’t see that one coming. Maybe this is a well-known fact, but it was news to me. News that came soon after I found out that Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” had a similar evolution from misogynistic male song, to inspiring karaoke classic.

Cyndi Lauper’s producer at the time, Rick Chertoff, had heard Robert Hazard’s original recording of the song, and received permission from him to change the lyrics up a bit. A noted feminist, Lauper swapped out the tales of a man bedding many women and turned the song into a powerful story of, well, I’ll let Lauper explain it: “It doesn’t mean that girls just want to fuck. It just means that girls want to have the same damn experience that any man could have.” Lauper wasn’t just about equality between the sexes though, but between races as well. Her video for the single was one of the first music videos to feature women of multiple races.

Aside from the lyrical improvements, the entire song got an upgrade when Lauper took it over from Robert Hazard. Listen to the original below, if you can even make it through the whole song. It’s uncomfortably fast, and a feels like the lyrics are shoved into spaces they weren’t meant to fit. Maybe it’s just because I’m so used to the original, but I have a hunch I wouldn’t dig it even if I had heard Hazard’s
first.

Lauper’s version went on to be covered many more times, while Hazard’s version was left in the dust. Other artists that have performed the track range from Arcade Fire (joined onstage by Lauper herself), to Relient K, to Katy Perry and Nicki Minaj. The song is an 80’s classic, and rightly so. I’m certain it will be performed by generations of karaoke goers and famous musicians alike in the decades to come.

My Anaconda DO

Fuse, MTV, VH1…they all used to be the places to go for your music video fix. But just because they’ve died down doesn’t mean music video culture has as well- in fact, music videos are more popular than ever, thanks to YouTube. Especially when it comes to pop artists- particularly female pop artists- we’ve seen a niche brand of music videos. Stylized choreography, dramatic vignettes, and flashy outfits. And more often than not, our diva herself wearing hardly anything or something skintight, completely and utterly sexualized. Recently, our pop stars have been fighting back against this very paradigm.

I hadn’t even thought about Miley Cyrus since Hannah Montana’s primitive seasons on Disney Channel. But there was absolutely no avoiding her my first month at college- that’s when the music video for Wrecking Ball was released. Fully immersed in my alternative/indie persona, I’d sworn off pop music. How edgy. But I was also a budding music journalist, so I decided to give the video a watch. I giggled with my friends as she nudely swung past, bright red lipstick the only color in the otherwise stark scene. But introspectively, I couldn’t help but consider what this meant for me.

A song about confusion, submission, and heartbreak, “Wrecking Ball” quickly made its way up the charts, carrying the controversial video along with it. It starts off seemingly innocent- a single tear tracks its way down her pallid face. Then we see her licking hammers. And finally, she’s nude, riding past our eyes atop a wrecking ball. “What the heck, Miley?!” the world cried in disbelief.

Not only is her nakedness a metaphor- for being completely naked in front of a person in a relationship, not just physically but emotionally, mentally. But it’s also a power symbol. We’ve all watched little Hannah Montana transform into a grown woman, and Miley chose this particular song and video to embrace her newfound maturity, both in her sound as well as performance. She’s unashamed of how she’s grown- physically, musically, and especially mentally. After shedding herself for another person- the unnamed lover and subject of the song- she’s taking ownership, and complete control by showing herself completely naked on top of a huge, heavy, destructive device.

And then there’s Nicki.

A year later, Nicki Minaj put out this vaguely familiar song and a booty bumping video to accompany it, featuring Drake. And it’s an absolute feminist masterpiece. I know what you’re thinking- how could that possibly be true, with the myriad scantily clad women, and the shining, bouncing bottoms?

Well…that’s exactly it. Nicki knows exactly what she’s doing and she’s proud of it. Lady Minaj has shown the world that she’s here, she has a huge ass, and she’s not afraid to show it off- under her circumstances. We see a lot of imagery of male arousal throughout the video- the coconut dripping in the beginning, the wine glass spilling over the sides, spreading whipped cream all over her chest, the bananas spinning around on the turntable…yet when in contact with an actual male in the video- Drake- she doesn’t surrender her ownership of herself. She slithers all over him, snake-like, wrapping herself around him in the most enticing way possible. But as soon as he reaches out for a taste of his own, she retracts. No, no, Drake.

There’s also something to be said regarding her sample choice- clearly borrowing from Sir Mixalot’s Baby Got Back. Though catchy, “Baby Got Back” has clear footholds in the concept that women’s bodies are objects for men to admire and drool over. In fact, in the spoken intro, one of the female characters states, regarding the fictional woman whose butt is the subject of the song, “She looks like one of those rap guys’ girlfriends.” They go on to claim that people only talk to her because she looks like- wait for it- a prostitute. The intro closes out with an even more horrifying line- “She’s just so…black!” As if all black women are good for is having big butts.

“Anaconda” is reclaiming the male gaze and transforming it into something under feminine control. It’s also fun to dance to.

miley-cyrus-nicki-minaj-

And more and more female artists are catching on. Taylor Swift’s “Blank Space” video showcases her essentially mocking the now popular notion that all she does is date guys, who eventually break her heart, leaving her to write another hit song about them. Beyonce has too many to count. Not to mention the countless other artists you may not even know about who are out there making empowering videos, embracing their womanhood. This is an important step for female musicians to take. It’s allowing them creative control over their music videos, and more importantly, the male gaze that’s commonly present behind them. As I mentioned in a previous post, the people working behind the scenes in the music industry are predominantly male. And whether it’s conscious or not, there’s been a clear sexualized skew in female pop musicians music videos.

So pull up those high-waisted shorts and dance along with them. You deserve it, and you look great doing it.

IS ALL IN

The following video is an example of a recent Adidas campaign that was launched to pay tribute to the GB Olympic team medallists in London 2012. With special dedication to Berklee Tangible Assets’ group members mates. Enjoy it!

 

In my opinion, Adidas seems to be more oriented to music than Nike does, the German company is indeed using music as a strategic branding tool in order to reach and engage with its audience. We could argue that Nike is already a well-established brand and perhaps does not need to do much effort in terms of looking for new consumers, but Adidas appear to be better connected with today’s society. Likewise, it has successfully adopted a kind of suburban and authentic image that is well appreciated by the public.

Artist partnership and event sponsorship:

On March 2011, Adidas launched its “All in” campaign. The pop icon Katy Perry and DJ Baby G were chosen new Adidas ambassadors. With such associations the brand aimed to target young music lovers as well as active women.

Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NIsvor0ID_U

Other artists appeared in a new spot launched in July 2012, under Adidas Originals label. Nicki Minaj, Big Sean, 2NE1 and Kids these days, together with the eccentric designer Jeremy Scott featured in such spot.

Here is the link: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OAb6vgjHNY8

Have a look at the new Christmas campaign in which Snoop Dogg remakes the classic tale of Ebenezer Scrooge. Again another example of artist and brand partnership.

 

And finally, check this out, Steve Aoki is also “all in”!

 

After watching such videos, I think it is quite obvious that Adidas is really making an important effort to integrate music into its brand personality and thus trying to be perceived as one of the coolest sports brands.

Furthermore, the company was also an official sponsor of Sonar 2012 edition.

AREAPRO_46

NEO – How to target teen consumers:

A recent partnership with Justin Bieber and Selena Gomez has been a good strategy to launch NEO, the new Adidas’ label.

NEO is a new brand, new in concept and new in spirit that wants to be a referent within young consumers. From a brand marketing perspective Justin and Selena are a perfect global style icons, and due to their deep connections with fans via social media platforms they could attract valuable potential consumers.

Both Justin and Selena are also designing some NEO products and the young brand has become the new official sponsor of the Canadian singer’s Believe World Tour 2012/2013.

Activation events and direct to fan initiatives:

Additionally, since the brand knows how important is to create a total and unique experience, is now offering a bunch of new possibilities to their followers:

First of all, consumers had the opportunity to win tickets to an exclusive event that was held in London’s Scala nightclub on the 2nd of May, 2011.

Together with MTV the company was also recruiting people considered passionate about music to become an Adidas’ reporter.

And finally, surfers could also were given the opportunity to hang out with one of their favorite British artists, spending a day in the studio with Plan B, attending a secret gig with the Enemy, DJing with Caspa or getting Example round to their place.

There is no doubt that Adidas rocks!

References:

http://www.adidas-group.com

http://blog.adidas-group.com

http://www.adidas.com/campaigns/onebrandanthem/content/Default.aspx

http://www.brandrepublic.com/analysis/1143406/

Monica Manubens

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012 MY FINAL THOUGHTS/WRAP-UP

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012 MY FINAL THOUGHTS/WRAP-UP

Just to refresh our minds, here is the quick rundown of our top hip hop entrepreneurs of 2012 according to Forbes “Cash Kings of 2012”:

  1. Dr. Dre – $110 Million
  2. P. Diddy – $45 Million
  3. Jay-Z – $38 Million
  4. Kanye West – $35 Million
  5. Lil Wayne – $27 Million
  6. Drake – $20.5 Million
  7. Birdman – $20 Million
  8. Nicki Minaj – $15.5 Million
  9. Eminem – $15 Million

Source: http://www.forbes.com/special-report/2012/0905_hip-hop-cash-kings.html

The reason why I chose this topic for my blog: As a future entrepreneur in the music/entertainment industry and also a big fan of hip hop music, I thought this (blogging for our artist management class) was the perfect opportunity to research about hip hop entrepreneurs and their different entrepreneurial business ventures.

My favorite entrepreneur on the list: No disrespect to Dr. Dre and his ridiculously successful business venture with his Beats by Dre headphones, but I thought overall Jay-Z had the most diverse and long-term growth potential portfolio. His partnerships with the Brooklyn Nets, New York Yankees, Live Nation and Duracell (just to name a few) are unparalleled and I can only imagine where his next investments will be. I honestly think Jay-Z will be able to top both Diddy and Dre in the next couple years.

And speaking of Jay-Z, I wanted to share a quick little video of a cute grandma not recognizing who the $475 million man is on the subway next to her: .

Who I see making top 9 next year that is not on the list: Although Forbes has him listed at number 15 this year with $7.5 Million, I honestly think Curtis Jackson, also known as 50 Cent or Fiddy, is never out of the equation. He actually lead the entrepreneur list back in 2008 (http://www.aceshowbiz.com/news/view/00017719.html) with $150 Million, so knowing him, he is bound to make some big moves this coming year. Also, one of the main reasons why I chose 50 Cent is because word on the street says he traveled to Dubai this year to sell his new SMS wireless headphone product that is nearly indestructible. Of course, that is not the only reason why I chose Fiddy, but I see (expect) great things ahead for this former G-Unit member. Here is the link to his newest business venture:

Last words: Once again, thank you taking this 10-blog journey with me. I hope you found my blogs somewhat entertaining, interesting and/or resourceful to you.

And if you’re new to my blog, please check out my previous detailed blogs on each of the top 9 hip hop entrepreneurs of 2012.

*Please remember to like, comment and share my blogs with others!

Thank you.

By: Aaron (Duke)

MUSIC AND BRANDING – WHERE THERE’S PEPSI, THERE’S MUSIC! ™

PEPSI knows it! Since first partnership with Michael Jackson, back in 1983, PepsiCo, Inc. has launched several campaigns using music as a storyline or music artist who have helped the company building its brand’s identity and personality.

Here’s an example of pioneer commercial campaign (1980s)

 

A brand is the personality that identifies a product, service or company (name, term, sign, symbol, or design, or combination of them) and how it relates to key stakeholders: customers, staff, partners, investors… Others may say a brand is more than that: confidence, passion, belonging, action, security or a set of unique values.

We tend to think of branding as a modern day phenomenon; undoubtedly branding has evolved over the late 1990s and early 2000s, but certain studies argue that branding started even before (around 1800s) when companies that sold patented medicines and tobacco realized the importance of their product’s association with a brand.

History provides some insight and perspective on modern day branding, and curiously have dated the branding phenomenon and first evidence of advertising even to ancient Babylonian civilization back in 3,000 BC!

Coming back to PEPSI’s strategy, a recent deal with the late King of Pop’s estate will allow the brand to use the music legend’s image for a new global marketing campaing. In order to amplify the company’s strong ties with popular culture and win market share from its main competitor (Coca-Cola Co), Pepsi will release a series of new TV ads, will launch an special-edition can with the artist’s image and will give the chance of downloading remixes of Michael’s most famous songs by scanning codes that will be placed on the new cans. Going a bit further, the company is also considering other ways of attracting the customer and will give away tickets to Cirque du Soleil shows along with special leather jackets inspired by the artist genuine style as a reward.

Music is everywhere and Pepsi has created another campaign called Live for Now pushing another strategic partnership with Nicki Minaj

During 2012 spring, Pepsi also joined The X Factor and embarked on The Pepsi Flavor Audition Tour, giving contestants and fans at more than 20 locations in 15 cities, the exclusive opportunity to sample four new Pepsi flavors and be the judge of which one earned the right to be called Pepsi X.

Eric Whitehouse, director of marketing for Pepsi has mentioned:

Our partnership with ‘The X Factor’ has given us the opportunity to further engage with our passionate consumers, and continue the Pepsi legacy of supporting aspiring musical talent With Pepsi X, we put fans in the judge’s seat — giving them the power to select our next limited-edition flavor — the Pepsi with ‘The X Factor.'”

Allowing consumers to be part of the product experience is also crucial, and with such Flavor Auditions Pepsi is getting even closer to the society.

Monica Manubens

 

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012: #8 NICKI MINAJ

The purpose of this blog is to inform the class of America’s “Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012” and the various business ventures in different industries that contributed to their individual successes.

Countdown Top 9 Hip Hop Entrepreneurs of 2012: #8 NICKI MINAJ

Name: Onika Tanya Maraj

Stage Name: Nicki Minaj

Age: 28

Forbes Hip Hop’s Top Earners List: #8 of 9

How Much??? $15.5 MILLION

Surprised?

So am I.

Don’t get me wrong, musically she is arguably the best female Hip Hop artist of all time. She has definitely earned her stripes in the game by being the first female solo artist (under Cash Money Records) to have seven singles on Billboard Hot 100 at the same time plus six BET Awards, two American Music Awards, two MTV Music Awards, and Billboard’s 2011 Rising Star Awards … all in just two years – kudos to her.

But come on, Nicki Minaj as the 8th most successful Hip Hop Entrepreneur of 2012?

I had to check for myself, and here’s what I found:

1. Fashion Industry: She signed a multi-million dollar endorsement with ADIDAS for their Fall/Winter 2012 marketing campaign, in collaboration with Jeremy Scott.

Source: http://hiphopwired.com/2012/04/12/cake-nicki-minaj-inks-adidas-endorsement-deal-photos/

2. Cosmetic Industry: Nicki is also endorsed by MAC Cosmetics, with her own MAC Lip Stick line (which made over $250,000,000!!!)

Source: http://mog.com/blog_post/content/4125/2534654

3. Beverage Industry: She signed a SEVEN-FIGURE endorsement with Pepsi to market and launch their new Pepsi product, POP.

Source: http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/nicki-minaj-signs-seven-figure-301715

4. Cosmetic Industry: OPI Nail Polish endorsed Nicki’s launch of her first nail polish collection.

Source: http://rollingout.com/entertainment/nicki-minaj-launching-her-first-opi-nail-polish-collection

5. Toy Industry: She has her own Barbie Doll made by MATTEL (though only for charity, still a big accomplishment for her brand)

Source: http://www.billboard.com/news/nicki-minaj-barbie-doll-a-very-major-moment-1005603722.story#/news/nicki-minaj-barbie-doll-a-very-major-moment-1005603722.story

On top of all that, Nicki Minaj also has her new clothing line coming out soon and will also serve as a judge on the 12th season of American Idol starting this January.

Wow, who woulda thunk?…

So after doing a little bit of research, I was sold – coming in with $15.5 Million, our “Hip Hop Barbie” Nicki Minaj has automatically earned her spot as the 8th most successful and influential hip hop entrepreneur of 2012.

(In a couple days, I will post up #7! So please stay tuned! Let’s count down to #1 together!)

By: Aaron Kim (Duke)

Other sources: http://www.forbes.com/special-report/2012/0905_hip-hop-cash-kings.html

(awards source: wiki)