Advertisers and celebrity endorsements go hand-in-hand. The benefits both parties enjoy have made this enduring relationship a lucrative one. Why does it work? People love seeing a face they trust or even admire promoting a brand and companies know this. When PUMA employs Kylie Jenner’s fame and influence to model for their new line, consumers are more likely to hit ‘add to cart’ if they’re fans— and even if they’re not. Notoriety is just as fruitful. Brands are willing to pay big bucks to sign deals with celebrities based on the expectation of a return on their investment.

Credit: PUMA

According to Marketwatch, merely announcing a collaboration with a celebrity can increase sales by 4%, almost immediately. Capitalizing on fanbases that are not only large but also loyal while accurately targeting endorsements are the key to success.

Nielson, one of the leading global companies in market research announced that hip-hop surpassed rock as the most popular genre in the US in 2017, according to their year-end report on the music industry. Advertisers have taken notice. From the success of Cardi B’s multi-million dollar deal with Pepsi to Drake’s rendition of ‘Bad Blood’ in collaboration with Apple Music, hip-hop has fortified itself as an influential force to be reckoned.

Here are some of our favorite partnerships:

Wiz Khalifa x OREOs

The relationship between ex-partners Amber Rose and Wiz Khalifa, with their son, Sebastian has captured the hearts of fans worldwide. Their frictionless co-parenting encapsulates the modern ‘American dream’. So, when OREO tapped Wiz on the shoulder for the heartwarming venture, it made complete sense. The newest stars of OREO’s “Stay Playful” campaign, the Pittsburgh native and his 5-year-old son, play, laugh and snack in the 30-second ad, which aired on the Grammy Awards on February 10.   

The 10-time Grammy nominee penned the song, ‘Playful For Life’ exclusively forOREO, which fans will be able to stream exclusively through an OREO x Wiz Khalifa Limited-Edition Music Box. The cookie-based record player is a clever gimmick, as OREO grab for a new audience while hoping that Khalifa’s proximity gives the brand a modern edge.

“My reaction to OREOs trying to get me to make a song was like, ‘Wow, okay this is a cool opportunity to take what I’ve been doing for a long time and then something that I’ve been enjoying for a long time … kinda put those two together,'” he laughs in a behind the scenes clip.

Chance The Rapper x Doritos

The Super Bowl has become a veritable gold-mine for advertisers. With millions of viewers, it’s undoubtedly one of the best ad-spots money can buy, except it’ll set you back. For the 2019 Super Bowl, a 30-second spot cost a record $5 million. This year, brands like Bumble, Pepsi and Burger King enlisted Serena Williams, Cardi B, and Andy Warhol, respectively. One celebrity endorsement is never enough at the Super Bowl, and Doritos collaborated with both Chance The Rapper and The Backstreet Boys for this year’s commercial.

To promote their latest flavor, Flamin’ Hot Nachos, ad agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners, who also produced the Cardi B Pepsi commercial, centered the nostalgia of the legendary boy band, along with Chance’s larger-than-life personality. Reimagining Backstreet Boys’ much-loved, ‘I Want It That Way’ with an effervescent Chance verse, featuring candy-colored cars doing donuts on an airport runway was a sure-fire way to grab the audience’s attention.

Donald Glover x Google

The Grammy’s often boast a star-studded lineup of attendees, but this year the show’s most talked about guest arrived as a Playmoji. Donald Glover, who won Song of the Year and Record of the Year for his single ‘This is America,’ released under Childish Gambino, also managed to squeeze in an endorsement with Google.

Google’s Playmoji feature on its Playground app, is in direct competition with Apple’s Memoji, who also featured an ad at the award shows featuring Ariana Grande. How does Google’s offering differ? Achieving quite realistic representations of celebrities dancing, Google drives this home with Donald Glover’s minute-long promotion, which sees him relive his famous dance moves from ‘This Is America.’

The Future of Endorsements

The commodification of influence is more tangible than ever before. As hip-hop stars rise in popularity, both in pop culture and on the charts, we see ad agencies working more and more with the genre’s heavy-hitters. We can’t wait to see what’s next.





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Kish Lal

Kish Lal is a pop culture critic based in New York.

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