Hip-hop culture spread from the streets of New York City to towns in Oklahoma genre influencing millions of people along the way.
For that reason, in an effort to increase sales, companies are now banking on the successes of the hip hop and rap music, by promoting their brands through rhythmic beats, original song lyrics and popular rappers.
Most recent artists in commercials include Snoop Dogg, who promoted Chrysler vehicles. Now there’s the Grammy nominated rapper Cee-Lo who can be heard promoting Toyota, the fourth-largest automaker in America.
”Our strategy is based on research that shows that with our youth target, music is the soundtrack for life,” said Teri Hill, Toyota’s car advertising manager. “To reach consumers, we have to identify lifestyle connections with them and create 360 degree advertising that lives in their hearts. Because the spots are similar to the music you hear on the radio, the advertising has more impact, helping to increase awareness of the Toyota model they promote.”
As a part of a series of radio spots created for Toyota, So So Def Recording Artist Cee-Lo Green is expected to promote the latest model for the company called the Corolla S.
The spot is called “Shotgun”, which tells the story of the artist cruising “in my Toyota Corolla S, so fresh.” In the second spot named “Mesmerized”, Cee-Lo is “cruisin’ ’round the city, fresh and feelin’ fly.” Then he meets a girl who tells him, “I like your Toyota, ooh your Toyota Corolla.”
The spots, written and performed by Cee-Lo, were produced by Burell, a leading national African American full-service communications agency.
Years ago, strategies such as this, may have been considered risky. However, as companies began seeing the rising popularity of hip-hop and rap music, they started realizing the power and marketability in using it as the unifying force to drive sales.
Burell Account Director Bryan Mattox explained that this is why companies are using music artists who are respected by their target audience.
”In this case we have lyrics written and performed by artists who represent authenticity in their music space,” Mattox said. “That kind of credibility gives the spots more substance that will connect a youthful, conscientious target to Toyota’s ‘Moving Forward’ message.”
Jonathon Linton, a business law major at Pennsylvania State University, has developed an appreciation of the marketing influence of rappers in recent years.
”Sometimes I find myself singing the lyrics in the commercials subconsciously when I’m thinking about the products,” Linton said. “I can’t afford to buy a new car now, but having that kind of connection, will more likely influence my future purchases.”
The hip hop commercials are expected to start airing this month. The Cee-Lo spots will run nationwide on hip-hop and R&B format radio stations through the end of the year.
Cee-Lo is one of several artists in the hip-hop genre to produce radio spots for Toyota models. Talib Kweli, another music artist, is set to promote the Toyota Matrix.
Courtney Battle, a Howard University advertising major, said that the partnership between rap artists and advertising companies makes sense.
”Hip-hop has so many marketing possibilities and is probably the most influential genre of music right now with all youth,” Battle said. “It has definitely been proven and will continue to be an effective way to get to younger consumers.”