New Jersey Nets investor, music, and fashion icon Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter will be teaming with long time friend, business partner, and Translation Consultation & Brand Imaging (TCBI) founder Steve Stoute to form a new advertising agency aimed at helping corporate clients gain access to multicultural consumers, who represent $2 trillion in consumer buying power. Jay Pesos from the web based hip-hop business lifestyle publication, thecorporatetakeover.net explains that through Translation Jay-Z and Stoute will be “providing consultation on what’s hot and what’s not, specifically in reference to hip-hop consumers who usually set the trends for the general market, but whom corporate advertisers have no clue on how to reach.” In a recent New York Times article Stoute and Jay-Z point out the company will operate under Stoute’s Translation Consultation, which Stoute sold last year to the Interpublic Group of Companies for $15 million. 51% of Translation Advertising is owned by Stoute – while Interpublic owns the other 49% of the company.
One reason that Interpublic grabbed 49% of stake in Translation Consultation is the growth of the African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American populations in the United States, which together account for an estimated $2 trillion in consumer buying power. “Another is the escalating influence of minority consumers on the general market, by setting trends and influencing buying decisions in categories like apparel, music and sports” adds Jay Pesos.
This past Super Bowl is a great example of how advertisers on the biggest advertising night of the year are using minority athletes and entertainers to create brand awareness and (hopefully) increasing sales for their clients. For example, a Diet Pepsi Max TV spot featured recording artists like LL Cool J, Missy Elliot, and Busta Rhymes. In addition, Naomi Campbell danced in a commercial for SoBe Life Water to a song by Michael Jackson. T-Mobile and Vitaminwater made use of basketball players Charles Barkley, Dwyane Wade, and Shaquille O’Neal for their TV spots, and comedian Carlos Mencia appeared in a spot for Bud Light. With all these multicultural stars making appearances in advertising campaigns, the biggest figures are still the ones behind the scenes. The biggest name in this ad industry shake up is rap star turned boardroom executive, Jay-Z.
Jay-Z, fresh off stepping down from his position as president of Def Jam Recordings and the success of his critically acclaimed album, “American Gangster,” has made it clear that attaining success in the advertising industry is his next career move. In the past, Jay-Z has had athletes such as Jamal Crawford, Kenyon Martin, Winky Wright, and Larry Johnson signed to his recently sold clothing line Rocawear (Team Roc). In addition Jay-Z is a fixture at basketball venues around the nation and is an Entertainer Basketball Classic (EBC) alumnus where his S.Carter team made it to the championship game in 2003. From street basketball to professional basketball, Jay-Z is a fan of the game and do not be surprised if Translation Advertising uses the sport of basketball to speak to the multicultural market.
Not to be forgotten, branding Guru Steve Stoute has a long line of success in matching athletes and entertainers from the hip-hop culture with corporations that want to establish authenticity in the multicultural markets. Most notably, Stoute worked with Reebok, at a time when the brand had stagnated and needed to revamp its image. He brokered Reebok’s ad campaign with Jay-Z, whose S. Carter Collection brought in an estimated $100 million in sales for Reebok. “Steve understood the synergy between music and sports, athletes and musicians, and knew there was an untapped market for combining the two,” says Paul Fireman, former Reebok CEO. Dennis Baldwin, Reebok’s former top marketer asserts, “Steve is credible in the music and entertainment worlds. Then he can switch gears, walk into the boardroom of a Fortune 500 company and speak his ideas in a way they can understand.” Thus it is not surprising that Stoute would team with his most successful benefactor, Jay-Z to bring the street culture of sports, entertainment, and fashion to the doorstep of corporate America. “He’s the conduit between corporate America and rap and the street, and the music industry generally,” says Jay-Z. “He speaks both languages.”
American culture is infatuated with sports and entertainment and in this time period where the lines between sport and entertainment are blurred it is necessary for marketers to find people and trends that have relevance in both aforementioned areas. Jay-Z and Steve Stoute are great mediums between the streets and the boardroom. Translating is a skill that everyone can learn but few can master, but it seems that with Translation Advertising Jay-Z and Steve Stoute are getting close to perfection.