Hip Hop has become a powerful advertising force

By Masada Ellis

GROSSMONT COLLEGE — Patron, Bentley, Gucci, Prada, Marc Jacobs, Dolge & Gabana all are name brands that have seen a marvelous sales increase with little promotion from the companies themselves. When was the last time you saw a billboard displaying a Bentley, or a commercial for Patron, Gucci, or Prada? Anywhere you look you can see one of these name brands here at Grossmont, on the beach, at the malls. on planes everywhere.

You can see young, old, white, black, Mexican, men, women, gays, straights– every one with some type of new name brand. You rarely see name brands of yesterday, or your parents’ brands such as Guess, Levi’s, dungarees, Union Bay, Cross Colors, etc….
I recently just came from Miami South Beach, Florida and saw Bentleys, Mercedes, Maybachs, Maseratis, and cars as such that are very high priced and weren’t seen as often five years ago, now being used as rentals. We have come a long way from America’s Corvettes as the car for men to have in order to attract the hot women and look suave. No more Hennessey, Alize, Jack Daniels, nowadays it’s Cristal, Patron, Patron, Patron!!!!

 

Even the illicit drugs of yesteryear are no longer prominent it’s no longer LSD or Acid, nor Speed. Cocaine is still there but has been replaced by Ecstasy, even the long lasting marijuana has changed in a way. It’s no longer Chronic, now its Hydro, G13, G14 etc…
All these name brands have become the prominent symbols of power and money not just in our country but the world. How or why have these brand names become the “it” thing to have with little or no promotions, advertisements, or anything?

    
Two words “Hip-Hop” today’s leading influence and advertiser. Similar to how Rock N Roll was in the Early 70’s through 80’s influencing the tight leather pants, make up and spiked hair, and of course the infamous Mullet haircut. Music has been a big key for these companies, I’m sure their advertising departments are sitting back smiling, why would they not? Millions of dollars are made just by one rapper saying one line about their product in his or her song. And, unlike a basketball or football player who signs deals to promote certain companies like, Nike, Adidas, etc… rappers have no contractual agreements.

    
Which, I find very strange and amusing, because they are saving these companies millions in advertising and do not get a cent in return; Hip-hop has reached a whole new level for entertainment, now any time Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Kanye West, 50 cent, T- pain, gets on a song or a video and holds up a bottle of Patron or screams out Bentley it instantly becomes like having a big billboard for that company that screams out ‘buy me it’s the in thing to do.’ So, how can it be such an influence and none of the rappers are sponsors for the company even though they are?

Mass Media has the ability the reach everyone in the world in a split second, and how are these companies profiting even though the rappers themselves aren’t necessarily telling their fans or listeners to purchase these products. Easy! Subliminal advertising. A sixteen year old girl or guy sees and hears a favorite rapper mention something and it must be the hot thing to have. The same for adults.

Jamie Foxx, a well know actor, turned singer has a song named “Blame it on the Alcohol” in this song he mentions Patron and other various drinks several times throughout the chorus of the song.  Lyrics,

“Blame it on the goose, gotcha feeling loose,

Blame it on the ‘tron, catch me in a zone

Blame it on the a-a-alcohol Blame it on the a-a-alcohol

Blame it on the vodka,

Blame it on the henny

Blame it on the blue tap, got you feeling dizzy

Blame it on the a-a-alcohol

Blame it on the a-a-alcohol (mp3lyrics.org”.)

    
In just this short period of time without realizing it Jamie Foxx and T-pain just advertised Patron, Vodka, Hennessey, Grey Goose, and other alcohols. And, the funny thing about it is that this repeats through the whole song which people hear and sing and its catchy and gets stuck into you head.

So, why is it funny to me? Well because this song is basically a club song so when their out clubbing and hear blame it on the Patron or any other one they mention they just subliminally put it into your head to buy that product, without getting one cent from that company.

    
Now since this song is played on the airwaves around the world every night club and every liquor store carries these products to capitalize on the advertising the hip-hop artist just gave away for free. I am twenty-eight and am venturing into the world of music as my full time quote on quote “Job”.

So, I go clubbing and keep up with some of the latest and from going out to clubs and bars from five years ago to today one can notice the big increase of items on the counters behind bars.

      
I remember when in 2003 a song came out where rappers where talking about mixing Hennessey, with Hypnotic and named it the incredible Hulk because it makes your glass appear green. That is all I would see people buy and drink. Mow if you order that in a bar or club you would get looked at strange because it’s no longer the in drink to be drinking.
The same things can be said about the Bentleys. Now when I am driving down the street I see Bentleys which are a very old line of cars. Why the recent change from not seeing one just five years ago to seeing them everywhere? Once, again it’s because of hip-hop and its subliminal messaging.

We as people as a whole are so concerned about looks and fashion, who has this and who has that it’s personally sickening. Everyone wants what their favorite Star has or talks about when sometimes especially for hip-hop that certain entertainer may not even own a Bentley, they just could be renting it for their video.
Hip-hop no longer speaks about the pain and struggle of urban society, no longer speaks out about police brutality.

    
Even though these things still exist today they are being put in the background and classified as underground, labeled as if no one wants to hear about these subjects any more. There are no more 2Pacs; N.W.A’s speaking out about this type of things no more. Why?

    
Because, somewhere society took a turn for the worse. Today, it’s all about status, so why would a Jay-Z or Lil Wayne talk about poverty and struggle on their albums or songs when they know that 16 year old Emily will buy their song as a ringtone because it mentions her favorite pair of sun glasses or jeans.

She doesn’t want to hear about “Fu** the Police” probably because she has never had an encounter with the police, as the case would have been in the late 80’s early 90’s when hip-hop was only listened to by urban America.

    
Now in just a little over 20 years, the average hip-hop listener went from an urban poverty stricken teen who could relate to what the earlier rappers sang about; to being listened to by 16 year old Caucasian girls.
In the music entertainment business you have to cater to the public or so it is now believed that you have to do so to become large. This is ironic seeming that hip-hop and my beloved rap music started out from going against society and it was all about rebelling and not caring what anyone thought.

    
It was supposed to be a form of expression of one’s self, or as inspiration. Instead it went from the streets of Brooklyn and Compton and other urban areas; to being heard around the world because of T.V.

Radio, Mass communication have changed the whole way rappers nowadays express ideas and thoughts.

 
It’s no longer about their emotion or struggle but rather what he or she can afford, and what costs more than the next. What he or she is wearing, drinking, smoking, driving, and so on. Why haven’t rappers done like NBA players and demand contracts for promoting these companies and their products?

    
Who knows? It seems like none really cares; I’m sure they have to realize that due to Mass Communication that they control fashion and have the marketing power to do so or do they? How many millions have they really made for these companies, millions and millions I’m sure. If just one of the leading hip-hop artist mentions a brand within hours of that song hitting the radio waves, instantly that product becomes a household name.

 
It can also have a reverse negative impact for a product brand for instance a couple of years ago Tommy Hilfiger was a big brand similar to Gucci nowadays. All the rappers, entertainers and all wore Tommy. That is until it was rumored that he stated he did not want black people purchasing his clothing.

To any person with sense, no one in their right mind would state such a thing correct, wrong. Immediately rappers such as Pimp C a well known Texas rapper and underground legend half of the Duo UGK made a couple of songs and statements saying F*** Tommy and promoted Polo instead.

As you can guess Tommy’s sales dropped precipitously, and within hours of this Tommy following the advice of his public relations team,I’m sure, made an once in a lifetime appearance on the Oprah Show to try and correct the so called rumor about him not wanting blacks to buy his name brand. Did this PR move work for Tommy? When was the last time you saw any one was wearing something boasting Tommy’s label?!!

    
The power to speak to billions of people at once through a song is a very powerful tool that somehow went from uplifting people in a movement to honoring material things that do not really matter. All this is possible because of Mass communication and the power it has that was discovered nearly 50 years ago.

    
The power to reach, and change things instantly, and subliminally, that is Mass Media. You have to love it. I know I do.

*
Ellis is a student in Media Comm 132

One response to this post.

  1. Posted by david on January 10, 2011 at 12:56 pm

    Well someone didn’t do their research first. Although some will make a song with a brand name in it without getting paid… Most do get paid (well) for included a brand in their lyrics. Especially when speaking of liquor.

    Reply

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: