Category Archives: POP CULTURE

Can I Touch Your Hair?

Can I Touch Your Hair

People are allowed the chance in NY to touch AA women’s hair

Almost every woman of color I know has been asked this question at least once in their lives. It’s always a question that brings discomfort, and often, a side eye…..

Well this past weekend, the founders of un-ruly.com gave spectators in NYC the opportunity to end their curiosity. During a two-hour exhibit on Thursday, June 6th, spectators in Union Square were able to touch live women’s heads, with a variety of hair ranging from straightened and sleek, coarse and kinky, to locs. The exhibit also took place during another two-hour span on June 8.

Not only is this an excellent tactic to start dialogue around this culturally, somewhat taboo fascination with ethnic hair, but it has also served as an experiential marketing strategy to build exposure for the Un’Ruly blog. As a result of the exhibit, the blog has been featured on websites for The Huffington Post, AOL, Jezebel, Refinery29 and more.

Want to learn more about the exhibit? Check out this link for more info: ‘You Can Touch My Hair’ Exhibit

What do you think Atlanta? Would you attend or participate in this exhibit if it were here?

Advertisements

Series(al) Killer

series(al) killer

If you haven’t heard by now, PepsiCo has has killed the Mountain Dew commercials surrounding a talking goat that has beaten up a woman and was in a police lineup.  The commercials have been cited as stereotyping Black males, racist and sexist.  Tyler, the Creator, a 22-year-old rapper/producer (who himself is African-American) created the campaign, which included some of his music group members and friends.  He has defended the commercials, denying any racism and claiming it was just supposed to be funny.  According to Tyler, his friends were “basically wearing their own clothes”.

I shared the commercial around the office and here are some of the responses:

1)  “Whoa… obviously they need a multicultural agency to help keep them from making stupid mistakes like that.  Often clients go out looking for what they think are “more creative, cutting edge” ways of reaching the young, millennial target through music talent, without truly understanding the nuances of the audience and not having the checks and balances in place that keep them from making this kind of grievous marketing error.

Maybe not overtly RACIST, but should have taken into account that there are 4 black guys in a police line up looking stereotypically criminal.  I understand this is a group but needed to include somehow a white guy(s).  Also suggests the idea of a white female being beat up by a black guy (although actually beat up by the  goat).  Just too far…”

2) “Call me insensitive but I didn’t see the commercial as racist. I’m not saying the spot deserves an ADDY but racism—no ma’am, no sir. I think the race card is being overused—can we play another card for subpar spots that contain black people? Advertising wouldn’t be advertising without criticism. I hope the PepsiCo brand doesn’t go into “super safe” mode and deliver creative that blends in with the rest of the ad noise.”

3) “Anybody think about the Doritos goat that beat up its owner for Doritos?  Yup, this is called “Biting,” pun intended.

The 4 Black males are all members of the same musical group as the “Creative” person who developed it for Mountain Dew, Tyler the Creator. Racist? That’s all about perception. Accidental racism almost always is. About perception, or lack thereof. If you don’t know the group, it looks really bad. If you know the group, it just looks like a watered down, weird version of their always-overtly-racy-purposely-offensive content.

If you think this is bad, don’t listen to eight bars of even ONE song.

My question, is why would Mountain Dew even put this in the market? They had to have known it would step on some toes. This was a marketing coup, IMHO.”

4)  “I find this commercial social irresponsible.  I understand that many people may know Tyler, the Creator and that he pushes the envelope, but I have no clue who he is.  The campaign is in bad taste and makes light serious situations.  Just reading Tyler’s Twitter was enough to make me cringe, I am not sure how Mountain Dew or PepsiCo thought it was in good taste to have this represent their brand.  What was the approval process?  Was a focus group used or did the company just throw the commercial online to test the waters?  Taking full responsibility is not enough after the fact.  Companies need to really do their due diligence before pushing a campaign such as this.  To me, this shows ignorance, arrogance and bad taste, all in the name of ‘creativity’.”

You’ve heard from us.  Now we want to hear from you.  What are your thoughts around Mountain Dew’s campaign?

BlackBerry Juice

Has BlackBerry gotten their "juice" back?

Image by: pocket-lint.com

Apple and Samsung have all but taken over the cell phone industry.  You will see a sprinkle of LG here and a sliver of Pantech there, but for the most part, these two large makers have the industry on lock.  What about BlackBerry?  I remember if you had a BlackBerry for work, that meant you had arrived.  Not everyone was allowed to have one, only management.  Now, my 11-year-old son is saving his money to get rid of it and get a “better” phone.  Sales in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom dropped by 53 percent third quarter last year from a year earlier to $949 million, according to a December 21 company filing.

For the past few years cell phone makers have designed and redesigned their products several times over.  It seems like there is a phone that will cater to each person, personality and business need.  Somehow the once coveted BlackBerry lost its juice.  It kept its signature keypad while others were switching to touch screens.  They lagged behind on technology.  Simply put, they didn’t move with the times.

Last month at the BlackBerry 10 launch, RIM (Research in Motion), BlackBerry’s parent company named Alicia Keys as the Global Creative Director.  Yes, Alicia Keys the singer.  Hmm,  didn’t see that coming.  Her role will entail working with app creators, retailers and the entertainment community.  I’ve thought about this.  Why Alicia Keys?  I know she’s talented but what does she bring to the table?

Well, Keys brings to the table what BlackBerry lags.   She has several factors working for her.  One, she fits the new demographics…young, vibrant and is constantly on the go.  This is digital share-all society.  Cell phones are not just for emergencies.  They’re for ordering food through apps, Tweeting, playing Temple Run and yes, even working.  Another plus for Keys: her appeal isn’t limited stateside.  She actually is global, doing humanitarian work in Africa and performing everywhere from the United Kingdom to Portugal.  Lastly, she is the ALICIA KEYS!  Since her debut album in 2001, she has managed to stay relevant and in the public eye.  Keys is a coveted vocalist, activist and remains a hot commodity.

She has mass marketing appeal.  Old, young, black, white, American, Asian and everyone in between, Alicia Keys has a spark.  However, is that spark enough to convert faithful Apple and Samsung users?  Only time will tell if BlackBerry’s got their juice back…

We want to hear from you!  What are your thoughts around the direction BlackBerry is taking?

Thirst for Multicultural TV Satisfied Online

Image

It’s no secret that there’s a dearth of multicultural roles in Hollywood on either the big screen or silver screen. Even J.J. Abrams’ vision of Middle Earth (“Lord of the Rings,” from J.R.R Tolkein) was populated by only milky-skinned faeries and hobbits, wizards and knights. But this dilemma has not stopped homegrown content creators from producing their own programming. For distribution, sites such as YouTube and Vimeo allow users to create Channels that perfectly house episodic content and grow audiences through subscriptions.

There are several web series gaining millions of views from their respective demos, and attention from potential advertisers. Most recently, Issa Rae’s “Adventures of Awkward Black Girl” has exploded, averaging 180,000 views per episode and currently has over 12MM channel views.[1] Shonda Rhimes, executive producer of primetime gems “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy” recently greenlit another Rae spinoff “I Hate LA Dudes.”[2] Donnie Leapheart’s “Osiris” won the “Best Web Series at the 2012 American Black Film Festival.[3] Latino web series “East Willy B” centers Willy Jr. who struggles to keep his Bushwick bar afloat amidst gentrification. The series has some heavy hitters on both sides of the camera, and earned 100,000+ views in its first 6-episode pilot thus far.

The term “web series” no longer equates to a few teens recording pranks on their mobile phones in a poorly lit room. Some online shows tackle serious issues with HD production value and quality. Even the author of this article has produced a Mommy-centric web series entitled “Mommy UNcensored™: Confessions of a Real Mom,” based on his wife’s adventures through motherhood. This wild comedy tackles the serious challenges that motherhood poses upon a woman’s body, marriage and social life.

Networks are getting in on the fun, too. The Comcast-owned TV channel Mun2 is set to produce 3 web series targeting the Latino demographic.[4] With the pioneering of Internet TV colliding with emerging smart TV technology that streams the web, it’s only a matter of time before these web series jump from YouTube to the Silver Screen.

By Justin Jordan, Sr. Art Director
J.jordan@imagesusa.net
@ArtistDirector

African American Influence Worldwide

It’s Olympic time once again.  The time when the best of the best come together to represent their country and compete for the coveted hardware.  Countries that have been around for centuries, honoring tradition are now taking lessons from the new kid on the block.

Yes, I’m talking about the United States.  Granted, the U.S. has been around for hundreds of years but that pales in comparison to China, which has been around since the B.C. times.

Yet and still, the African American influence resonates worldwide.  On Sunday, the Chinese men’s national basketball team did the Soulja Boy dance to get hyped before the game against Spain.  What’s the big deal?  Well, let’s digress.

Along with being one of the youngest countries, the United States’ African American population is really just beginning to gain notoriety and their spending power recognized (see previous post “The Power of the Black Dollar”).

At the time that Soulja Boy’s “Crank That (Soulja Boy)” was release, he was 16.  By 2010, he ranked #18 on the Forbes list of Hip-Hop Cash Kings, earning $7 million that year.  Did I mention that the single was originally self-published on the internet?

Back to the big deal.  The Chinese men’s basketball team represented their country at the 2012 Olympic Games in sport but at the same time showed the World, at the largest and top venue for world, that they’re paying attention to the African American culture.

African American influence has transcended the seas and continues to influence worldwide.

Jay Z & Budweiser Prove Community Involvement Remains Central to Multicultural Marketing

 

On Monday morning, Jay-Z (Artist/ Businessman/ Mogul) and Budweiser announced a partnership that will bring a two-day music festival to Philadelphia and raise funds to benefit United Way. Titled “Made In America,” the weekend of festivities will include three stages and up to 30 performers. A 2009 Yankelovich study showed that 80% of African Americans wish brands would do more to address issues within their communities, and more than half (53%) are more likely to purchase from brands that demonstrate this kind of commitment; United Way addresses education, homelessness and health inequities – all plights of lower-income multicultural communities – meaning Budweiser likely stands to benefit greatly through long-term brand affinity. Kudos to Jay-Z and Budweiser!

Do your favorite brands support the community? Whether yes or no, how does this affect your perception of the brand? Weigh in below or Tweet us @IMAGESUSA

The Stage Is Set For Linsanity 2.0 – It’s Deeper Than Basketball

The NBA Playoffs are in full swing! Today, Simon Trabelsi muses on the potential story lines surrounding New York Knicks Guard Jeremy Lin. Lin became the nation’s media darling earlier this year through a string of impressive performances and a movie-like personal story. He became marketing gold in a matter of weeks, and the stage is set for yet another plateau in basketball and branding for Jeremy Lin.

!RANT WARNING!

THE NBA MIGHT EXPLODE! Really though, I think it’s possible. I’d like to outline the dynamite of compelling (and a bit far-fetched, but that’s the fun part) storylines, and what could detonate them all. It’s all surrounding one particularly Milleniall-ish Millennial.

Today: The Miami Heat is currently up 2-0 against The New York Knicks in their 1st round playoff series. Jeremy Lin is still out with a knee injury. Here’s the back story:  Continue reading