Often times when musicians and corporate entities collaborate to create a commercial or marketing campaign fans are initially concerned and weary of the end results. Will the artist be given enough creative license? Does the collaboration make sense? Does the end result reflect both the artist and the brand being marketed?
The new commercial/music video that Sour Patch Kids and Wu-Tang Clan Member, Method Man have created hits on all cylinders.
First and foremost the song itself is actually pretty good and has been made available for download. Method Man shows no sign of corporate influence at all as he delivers the song in his typically animated, tongue-and-cheek style all while staying on subject addressing the sour/sweet aspect of the candy.
The video also does a good job of relating past Sour Patch advertisements to the song by once again displaying the the candy men involved in some good-natured mischief.
The video is successful because it builds off the strengths of both collaborators. Method Man built a career with a focus and dedication to staying true to his Staten Island roots while Sour Patch Kids has built strong brand recognition with the slogan “First their sour then their sweet.” The video combines the best of both, to create an innovative and effective advertising experience.
There is an overt, beautiful irony permeating from Levi’s new ad campaign entitled “Go Forth”. The commercial is a series of powerful video clips depicting beautiful young people immersed in different aspects of a counter-culture lifestyle. The actors appear to be taking charge of their lives and freeing themselves from the bonds of mainstream society. They are concert-goers, musicians, free spirits, empowered individuals looking to take down the establishment all while wearing the latest pair of Levi jeans.
To help add to the revolutionary and liberating tone of the ad Levi’s invokes the words of Charles Bukowski’s poem “Go Forth.” For those of who may have skipped one too many English classes Bukowski was a poet known for his love of booze, women and gambling as well as his disgust with authority and Capitalism. If he was still living I wonder if Bukowski would have allowed his art to be marginalized and used to forward the motives of a large corporation.
Regardless of motivation, I felt that Levi is successful in branding itself as an alternative company looking to resonate with a younger audience who may feel alienated from typical American society. Levi’s does a great job appealing to market that theoretically should want nothing to do with material wealth or care about outward appearances. In this juxtaposition, Levi’s is able to make the customer feel liberated and independent while actually being yet another easily influenced consumer following the trends of the masses.
To help add to it’s credibility as the jean for the “radical” college student the company has established a Go Forth website dedicated to promoting different humanitarian initiatives. The website is successful in building credibility and depicts Levi’s as sympathetic and progressive brand looking to change the world for the better.
Overall the Levi’s does a marvelous job tapping into the historically fickle 18-25 market in a way that allows young people to feel empowered but still comfortable enough that they won’t disrupt the whole purpose of the campaign which is to sell that young revolutionary a pair of $70.00 jeans.
Remaining relevant in the music industry is one formula record label executives have yet to crack. Corporations pour millions of dollars in to slick marketing campaigns to ensure their artists receive exposure and maintain accessibility. Independent rap label Rhymesayers Entertainment is no different.
The Minneapolis-based label famous for artists like Atmosphere and Brother Ali recently released a line of t-shirts featuring the label’s new crest. This is the first attempt at re-branding the label has done since it’s foundation back in 1996.
The shirts come in a variety of color combination and feature a logo reminiscent of a street fashion brand like LRG or Crooks And Castles. This should work to the label’s advantage in targeting a market of younger hip-hop fans. The crest is simple yet memorable and will serve as the the focal point in the label’s re-branding process.
California, the name itself calls to mind everything from the bright lights of Hollywood to the dank forests of Humboldt County. The state attracts the likes of literary innovators and Disney-bound tourists. Always a source of inspiration for cultural ingenuity as well as a marvelous vacation destination, California has captivated the hearts of generations looking to explore it’s diverse social and physical terrain.
Presented as a series of short films,“California Is A Place,” is a project jump started by filmmaker Drea Cooper and photographer Zach Canepari, that attempts to bring the California experience to life.
Each films explores the different aspects of California life promoting the state’s rich and eclectic culture. Some films such as “Scrapertown” highlight individuals providing positive influences within their community. The piece follows a group of inner-city Oakland teens who must not only show dedication to their hobby but also dedication to their education if they wish to remain members of their neighborhood bike club.
Other films profile the possible conflicts a cultural melting pot like California must endure. “Bordertown” explores the day-to-day activity of volunteer patrol guards near the Mexico border. Each citizen profiled provides their own motivations behind their self-appointed task, a compelling depiction of the source of many misinformed debates.
“California Is A Place” is a that not only presents captivating stories and stimulates cultural dialogue but also provides a great advertisement for the beauty and diversity of our most golden state.
Ever since teenagers in New York began “tagging” and “bombing” trains in the 80’s graffiti art has been viewed with equal parts disdain and curiosity. Often accused of being vandals and criminals, graffiti artists work in anonymity constructing murals in highly visible public forums much to the chagrin of many public officials throughout the world.
In this sense Argentinian street artist Blu isn’t much different. His physical appearance and real name are unknown and his famous murals are found on private and publicly owned buildings from Bologna to Bethlehem. It was not until a 2006 trip through Latin America that the purpose of Blu’s art became more apparent.
A film entitled Megunica documented his journey through Mexico, Guatemala, Nicaragua and Argentina in his attempt to “bring art to the people”.
Besides from creating some visually stunning pieces, Blu and his travel companions interacted with locals from the various locations to truly gain an understanding of the culture they had immersed themselves in, an effort to make art a communal experience.
In Mexico he teamed up with local artists to work on a few of projects. In addition the crew sat down with some local youth to discuss their hardships as well as the importance of street art in their community. In Managua, Nicaragua Blu and his friends visited the poorest neighborhood in the city and decided on the spot to revamp the run down community center building with the help of all the residents. It was truly moving to see children as young five and gray-haired adults all working together (under Blu’s direction of course) to help improve their community.
Moments like the one in Managua are found throughout Megunica and it is during these scenes that reinforce how powerful and universal the language of art is.