Both Sides of Marketing in Entertainment are Looking for Multicultural Relevance

Culture Hack

Zeitgeist

Both Sides of Marketing in Entertainment are Looking for Multicultural Relevance

It’s no surprise that one of the biggest trends in the United States is an increase in on-screen inclusion and diversity. But what are companies and entertainment sources actually doing to accurately reflect the U.S. population? From analyzing research on multiculturalism in the country to holding polls and surveys to see what their viewers want to see, companies are acting very strategically and cautiously when it comes to fulfilling their DEI promises.

 

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Under the Influencer: Why Gen-Z is Inspired By Celebrities and Social Media Personalities

Culture Hack

Culture Hack

Under the Influencer: Why Gen-Z is Inspired By Celebrities and Social Media Personalities

During a casual scroll through social media platforms, you will most likely encounter a variety of branded material, from sponsored posts to ads worked into influencers’ content. And while some people in the older generations may simply skip over this content for fear of being “schemed” into purchases, Gen-Z recognizes a genuine interest from their influencers in the product they are promoting. They know that they are part of a generation that has had it with insincere campaign attempts and that any peers in the limelight would not be associated with a company they did not fully support. This leads us to wonder why, of all the pop culture-consumed generations, Gen-Z are the most heavily influenced by influencers?

When you look at Gen-Z as an evolution of other generations, rather than a group of people that just happened, the signs are all there. The fan-driven culture of the mid-to-late 1900s, the same culture that gave rise to Beatlemania and the obsession over television shows, was the predecessor of influencer culture today. Brands would flock to the artists and personalities that had taken the hearts of the youngest generation at the time, selling merchandise and experiences with the names of icons and heart throbs all over it. As time has passed, the youngest generation doesn’t even need the convincing of the celebrity-branded product; they just want to know that their favorite is behind something and they are sold. 

According to a study done by Marketing Hub, influencer marketing is set to have a budget of $13.1 billion in 2021. 

Along with the growth of influencer appreciation from consumers comes an appreciation of the market from businesses. Companies have learned that their consumers want interaction and engagement, they want to know why their favorites are promoting certain products and why they should spend their money on it. Influencer marketing is now the main way to connect with the biggest consumer pool.

One thing brands need to keep in mind when tapping into this new market is the trends that Gen-Z goes through quickly. Platforms, especially TikTok, make it easy for different personalities and fads to move through the Gen-Z circuit faster than through any other generation. One day, a creator known for a certain dance can be at the top of the influencer chain and the next, they can be just as forgotten as the ones that came before them. Rather than just reading studies and trend reports about theories on Gen-Z activity, brands should be in the action, engaging with what Gen-Z is into at every moment so that they can best understand and later represent these consumers. 

While celebrity-centric marketing is nothing new, how Gen-Z interacts with brand partnerships proves that the market has changed. People who are part of the youngest generation want to know that their favorite public figure likes a certain product not just for novelty but also for utility. More brands are recognizing the importance of this marketing strategy, prioritizing interactions with their consumers and the people they admire through social media rather than keeping a safe, corporate distance. 


Celebrity Sunglasses are the Trendiest Brand Collaboration

Culture Hack

Zeitgeist

Celebrity Sunglasses are the Trendiest Brand Collaboration

In the past year, a number of different celebrities have taken on partnerships with sunglasses brands, selling their own stylings to their fans and followers. Among these celebrities are rapper Saweetie, internet personality Bretman Rock, and even multi-talented Jamie Foxx. When celebrities can choose from a number of different collaborations, why are more people drawn to sunglasses and how will this trend carry on throughout the years?

 

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How Naomi Osaka is Winning Off The Court

Culture Hack

Zeitgeist

How Naomi Osaka is Winning Off The Court

For the past few years, Naomi Osaka has established herself as tennis’s new relatable, respectable powerhouse. But the 23-year-old is also making moves in the world of celebrity branding and collaborations. From Sweetgreen promotions and a Frankie’s Bikinis collection to unforced ads for Nike and Levi’s on her Instagram, Osaka is partnering with brands that share her ideals and her style while earning close to $38 million in endorsements. She is proving that skill set does not stop on the court and that celebrities have creative license when it comes to their partnerships. 

 

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Brands Need to Plan Ahead for 2022 Partnerships With Musicians

Culture Hack

Zeitgeist

Brands Need to Plan Ahead for 2022 Partnerships With Musicians

Now that a fully vaccinated and healthy future is in sight, musical artists are starting to release tour dates to bring back live music towards the end of this year and the beginning of next. According to AEG Presents chairman Jac Marciano, the 2022 stadium presence is something he’s never experienced. Though the music industry took a $30 billion hit last year, the return to stages will most likely make up for the losses. Brands should join in on this resurgence of the live music scene because it is set to be the most fruitful return to normal life after the pandemic.

 

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Who Benefits Most in Partnerships, Brands or Their Celebrities?

Culture Hack

Culture Hack

Who Benefits Most in Partnerships, Brands or Their Celebrities?

In the past year, Travis Scott partnered with global fast food company McDonald’s to put out a specialized meal and a line of merchandise. This collaboration had waves of fans running to their local McDonald’s just so they could experience some of that Cactus Jack magic. Scott walked away from the deal with $20 million and $15 million from his personal merchandise funds. Articles praised the rapper for the smart business decision, saying that he was the cause of a boost of sales for McDonald’s. But, when McDonald’s is a multi-billion dollar company, how much of a benefit is it for him compared to this established brand? 

While previous versions of celebrity and brand partnerships were clearly for the benefit of brands more than they were for the celebrities behind them, the most recent partnerships are complicating things a little more. Though McDonald’s did see a 4.6% gain after its partnership with Travis Scott, the company did contribute to Scott’s legacy in a big way. The iconic merch put out from this collaboration could be a key element of 2020s pop culture, something generations remember for years. 

On the other hand, McDonald’s has gained a special relationship with this generation, especially the fans of rap. To curate a meal — something that feels so set in stone — and turn it into an experience has set the pace for its competitors. And it doesn’t just stop at Scott. Later this month, McDonald’s is partnering with the biggest global artist right now, BTS. By collaborating with BTS, McDonald’s will be tapping into its worldwide network of locations to create a shared experience for its consumers and the band’s fans all over the world. Surely this is more of a financial and credibility gain than what Travis Scott and the other artists will make.

So why are artists jumping at the opportunity? The most relevant answer would be novelty. These artists most likely grew up consuming McDonald’s and have good childhood memories attached to the fast food service. It is almost like an invisible badge of honor, a sign that they have made it in the eyes of the public. For McDonald’s, this badge of honor signifies that no matter what generation they are serving, they can always find a way to be the number one fast food chain around the world. 

There may not be a clear winner when it comes to who benefits more from celebrity-brand partnerships but one thing is clear: the most effective way to go about them is with full effort, an intention to connect with consumers, and a certain amount of creative license for celebrities to be as involved in the partnership as possible.


Four Celebrity-Driven Brand Campaigns That Are Leading the Revolution of Partnerships

Culture Hack

Culture Hack

Four Celebrity-Driven Brand Campaigns That Are Leading the Revolution of Partnerships

Celebrity-backed campaigns are nothing new to pop culture. For decades, consumers would see their favorite personalities promoting x brand or y restaurant through a simple commercial or billboard or even quick shout out to the media. But as society progresses, the minds of consumers evolve. They no longer believe that x brand or y restaurant is their favorite’s favorite. 

Social media and the widespread content consumption has led to a revolution in terms of how consumers want to see their beloved celebrities interacting with brands they are familiar with. They want something outrageous yet believable, something that is worth writing to their followers about. This is how four brands and their celebrity partners are changing the game of brand partnerships. 

Travis Scott and McDonald’s 

When people around the world think of fast food chains, their minds most likely wander to McDonald’s. The golden arches are an iconic image, symbolizing quick and unmistakable food. Everyone knows the chain by its look, its dishes, and the nostalgia it provides us all. So when McDonald’s announced a partnership with one of the world’s biggest rappers today, Travis Scott, many were confused yet excited. 

While his predecessors have started partnerships with liquor companies and athletic wear, Scott’s campaign with McDonald’s was something the world has seen since basketball superstar had a deal with the company in 1992. For a limited time, McDonald’s offered consumers a meal Scott would proudly enjoy — a medium Sprite, a quarter pounder with bacon, and fries with barbecue sauce — presented to them along with lyrics from one of Scott’s most popular songs “Sicko Mode.” On top of the McDonald’s offerings, Scott also created a line of merchandise that combined his unique Cactus Jack aesthetic with the McDonald’s logo. Since this collaboration, McDonald’s has announced four other musical pairings including BTS. 

Lady Gaga and Oreo

During summer 2020, Lady Gaga released Chromatica: an album that was supposed to be much more than a collection of songs, maybe even a way to transport to an ideal version of the world. But, due to the pandemic, the pop diva could not take the concept of her album to where it was heading originally. And yet, Lady Gaga still found opportunities, even the smallest among them, to give her fans the Chromatica experience she deserved. Then came Oreo… 

In December of last year, Oreo and Lady Gaga announced their collaboration — Chromatica Oreos with pink sandwich cookies and neon green creme filling. On each of the Oreos, a design alluding to Chromatica was stamped, making each treat as exhilarating as the next. The motivation behind the collaboration was to introduce everyone to the way of life in Chromatica, where kindness rules all things. Along with the cookie drop, Oreo also set up a digital scavenger hunt for fans via Twitter where winners won packs signed by Gaga herself. 

Yara Shahidi and Adidas

Adidas has welcomed a number of different celebrity partnerships in the past few years, the most notable among them being Pharrell Williams and Beyoncé’s IVY PARK. The athletic-lifestyle clothing and footwear brand has acted as a blank canvas for some of the most talented creatives to explore another side of their abilities. But the brand’s latest partnership with Yara Shahidi evolves into an opportunity to educate. 

The Adidas Originals x Yara Shahidi collaboration is a two-part footwear and apparel collection through which Shahidi expresses her appreciation for her Iranian and African American heritage. Like her heritage, Shahidi has always viewed fashion as something everyone has to navigate on their own but can appreciate in others, which led to her marrying the two for her Adidas collection. The collaboration includes two vibrant ‘60s inspired tracksuits, one of which features traditional Iranian design. For the lucky few that received this collection earlier, Shahidi included Iranian tea for her fans to enjoy and experience her culture even more.

Charli D’Amelio and Dunkin’ Donuts

It’s safe to say that Gen-Z is consumed by TikTok. They have elevated TikTok influencers to celebrity status, controlled the music charts, and even set the tone for fashion trends. What is happening in one part of the world will be known by all with the simple post of a TikTok, which makes the promotion of collaborations that much easier for the influencers of the platform. So, it only made sense that Dunkin’ Donuts would partner with one of its more vocal supporters, Charli D’Amelio. 

Last September, Dunkin’ launched The Charli: a cold brew beverage just like Charli would order. Fans and fellow influencers alike fled to their local Dunkin’, using the new beverage as an opportunity to post on TikTok and connect with D’Amelio. The beverage did so well that Dunkin’ decided to release a remix of the drink in March of 2021, along with a merch collab that included a onesie, a sparkle tumblr, a phone case, and even a scrunchie set. What had the consumers of this collab interested in the partnership is the fact that D’Amelio has genuinely loved and preferred Dunkin’ over other coffee chains for years.

 

Brand partnerships are no longer just about getting the name and the face for promotion. Consumers want interactions between two different pop cultural references. They want to be in awe of a certain company’s move while maintaining respect for the people in the spotlight that they admire. 


Apologize, Learn, and Reform: How Your Company Can Gracefully Commit to Change

Culture Hack

Culture Hack

Apologize, Learn, and Reform: How Your Company Can Gracefully Commit to Change

The events of the past year have put an emphasis on DEI, making most companies commit to change before the public. But in a society where it feels like being diverse and equal is “trendy,” Millennials and Gen-Zers are extra critical when it comes to how these companies are moving away from a systemic oppression they once contributed to. Social media has given consumers more than enough access to the less advertised elements of a company, reducing the room for error and increasing the need to make good on promises. But, for most companies who were blinded by unconscious bias, what exactly are the right moves?

Before any sort of action towards change, the first thing that any business who has not been true to any form of DEI should acknowledge is their unconscious bias, their systemic and (until recently) normalized disregard of marginalized groups. The consumers of today can see through insincere acts with the intention of increasing their profit. They want to know that a company is willing to accept that they have failed before they are ready to recover lost opportunities. From a simple social post to a formal statement, any piece of information that is solely and clearly discussing previous failures. 

According to a study conducted by Brookings, Millennials will make up 75% of the workforce by 2025.

A second step in the process of gracefully committing to change would be to listen to the change makers of our world. As mentioned above, the work force will mostly consist of Millennials, with Gen-Z slowly but surely taking up the rest of the work space. These youngest generations have been campaigning for inclusion since they recognized the power of their voices — and have not stopped or will not stop until the diversity of the country is accurately reflected in the diversity of all industries.

The final step, the one that will set the tone for your company as you move away from the past, is a foolproof, carefully constructed plan for reform. A CEO can’t just state that they want to change without a set of actions they will take to ensure that their company’s stances change. No, it will take seminars and classes and philanthropy and — most importantly — transparency with the public who will keep it in check. Sharing a plan for reform with the public will establish a humble credibility between you and your consumers so that, if any mistakes are made moving forward, intentions and motivations will still be felt by the general public. 

Is there an easy way to commit to changing your companies’ beliefs? No. It may not be easy or even a clear and straightforward process that all can follow but it is a necessary responsibility to take up if society is ever going to move away from systemic racism. Gone are the days when unconscious bias was an acceptable excuse for lack of inclusion. The events that we have all witnessed this year are enough proof that all aspects of this corrupt societal model need to change, including the industry you work through. 


How the Food Industry is Helping India

Culture Hack

Zeitgeist

How the Food Industry is Helping India

The COVID-19 crisis in India is getting worse every day. With only 2% of the population vaccinated, hospitals are running out of beds and oxygen, people are hungry in isolation, and the country as a whole is in dire need of help. And the food industry in America is stepping up to that call. Editorial Director of Condé Nast Traveller Divia Thani has put together a verified list of organizations that people outside of India can donate to. CEO and founder of spice company Diaspora Co. has also created a list of verified organizations, giving consumers incentives to donate while educating them on the crisis. 

 

For more on this, head over to the original story. 


Why The State of Colombia Requires American Help

Culture Hack

Zeitgeist

Why The State of Colombia Requires American Help

Protests against a proposed tax reform has led to violent protests in Colombia that have left hundreds of people injured, bringing the whole country to a standstill. This unrest threatens the stability of a key player in the war against drug trafficking. So how exactly does this affect the U.S.? While other rich nations could have promoted the economic recovery of countries hit the hardest by the pandemic, there has been no plan to distribute relief. It would be in the best interest of these nations, especially America, to help the region flourish again.

 

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