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Showing posts from March, 2010

TECH WEEK: How Apple launched the war against all PC's in 1984 and set the stage for Obama

I actually remember seeing this ad when it first dropped. Yeah, I'm kinda old. I never get tired of watching it though. When you think about how forward thinking Apple ad executives were on the idea of their positioning and messaging, its amazing.

By polarizing themselves against the PC makers, framing them as old and a huge digital bureaucracy, they hit all PC companies hard in the gut. It was tactical genius. PC makers have never been able to unfetter themselves from the frame Apple put them in.

Not only were they clear on the positioning then, they don't appear to have ever left it. I can't imagine how expensive this ad was at the time. But it was priceless in its timeless effect.

So timeless, someone made this remake of the ad and put it online in support of Barack Obama's campaign. It shook Clinton's campaign to the core. Like PC's, Clinton was never able to shake the frame this ad put her in.

The tech game is amazing isn't it? Obama's Apple ad made…

TECH WEEK IS INTERRUPTED...For yet another Taco Bell FAIL

Someone needs to call the executives at Taco Bell and tell them to get their money back from whatever agency did this "Box Rocks" ad. This Charles Barkley meets Dr. Seuss really sucked. I mean, CB is walkin' real slow, like he's injured. I'm not even sure he memorized the words. His delivery sucked. The rhyme sucked. It sounded so forced. I like Taco Bell and I might not eat it now, just 'cause I'm reminded of this horrible ad.

OK, back to Tech Week.

-Beyond Urban Branding

TECH WEEK: Metro PCS ad is a major FAIL

This ad is amazing. Not in a good way. I'm amazed that it was made. I lost count of the stereotypes shown in this Metro PCS commercial. Who is this ad intended for? Are people from India supposed to be inspired to get on the Metro PCS bandwagon? C'mon son.

So its not creative. Its culturally insensitive. We've got poor messaging. Add that together and you get a big fat FAIL.

-Beyond Urban Branding

TECH WEEK: CNN just said iPad orders are beyond their ability to supply

I was watching CNN and TJ Holmes just said Apple can't keep up with the orders. Kindles got real competition. I have no idea what the HP Slate will be able to do, but, I hope its at least as cool as this! This iPad commercial (kinda long) is pretty exciting though.

I just feel like the game is about to change on all levels when things like this start to evolve. No matter who wins or loses the brand battle, the people are going to win cool new stuff to engage their minds and greatly enhance their entertainment experience with. I'm looking forward to all of it.

-Beyond Urban Branding

TECH WEEK: A rare Boost Mobile FAIL in the ad game

Boost normally does solid ads when it comes to Hip-Hop. This however was just average. It actually kinda sucked. Why does it suck? Two words, Mickey Avalon. When the ad opens up you get a bangin' beat by Jermaine Dupri, he flows a bit. Then you see Young Jeezy flow (who was just coming up so it made him look extra large). Then they force fed Mickey Avalon into the ad and it was just funny.

Don't get me wrong, I'm not anti-Mickey. I'm just anti-Mickey in this ad. He is not connected to the Hip-Hop demographic. To close the ad with an outta place White guy just so you don't make your ad "too Black" is never a good mood. Not to mention there are so many White rappers and athletes that could have been used. We're not even going to mention Eminem ('cause its so obvious). But I'm thinking Ill Bill, Cage, MC Serch, Okwerdz, Copywrite, Everlast, Slaine- I could go on.

The "urban" lifestyle lover, can see far beyond race. But you can't pla…

Diddy keeps it classy with Ciroc Vodka

I can't lie. When I first heard about Diddy and Ciroc hooking up I chuckled. I really thought it was going to be just another "hood beverage" of some less than average alcohol. In my minds eye, I could see all the stereotypical ads they would do. So I just cringed at the thought.

I was wrong. The above ad is very classy. Its a throwback to the Rat Pack days. No doubt Sinatra would have loved Diddy. It shows successful, happy people dining with elegance. They are steadily pushing Ciroc as n upper class beverage. Nobody wants to brown bag it with Ciroc! You want to be seen, dressed well surrounded by the beautiful people. I don't have any idea about how Ciroc tastes, or what it goes good with (I don't drink). But, this is a very solid ad from front to back. I tip my hat to everybody on the ad team that was willing to think outside of the box.

-Beyond Urban Branding

Taco Bell FAILS making one of the worst rap ads ever

Simply stated, this ad sucks from top to bottom. I have no idea what executives at Taco Bell were thinking when they gave the green light to this ad. Here you have two White guys, dressed super goofy trying to rap their order. One guys beatboxing horribly (making rap beats with his mouth). The rap sucks. Its not even funny. Unless White guys rapping is funny.

This does not appeal to lovers of rap. It does not appeal to lovers of comedy. It was poorly shot from front to back and whoever wrote the ad, should have known better.

For those that don't know about beatboxing, here is what it looks like when its done right.

Nobody out there can convince me that if you teamed a guy like this up with some quality writers, that Taco Bell could could not have done a much better job. What is the moral of the story kids? Take your brand and your demographic seriously when you use Hip-Hop in your ads. I'm sure this will come up again.

-Beyond Urban Branding

Luda's amazing ad, that got Bill O'Reilly so mad!

I forgot how much political pundit Bill O'reilly hated Luda for this ad. He went on a rampage and got Luda dropped from Pepsi. He said Luda was immoral and Pepsi bent to the pressure and the ad was banned. Then they went and got the drug induced Osbournes to take his place. I always thought that was weak. Even the super pacifist Russell Simmons lashed out at Pepsi for folding to Bill. Anyway, as we all know Luda used that friction to bring more attention to his skills and he's balling so hard right now, its not even funny.

Thanks Bill!!

-Beyond Urban Branding

Jay Z and 50 Cent do a Reebok ad TOGETHER! This is history!!!

Wow. I don't remember this at all. Its weird to see them together in the same room rapping and doing their thing in a studio. So much has changed in Hip-Hop for these guys. But this is great. I'd love to know the back story to how this came together.

It was for the S. Carter Collection Reebok shoe. It was fun, it was fly and I want some of them shoes right now!

-Beyond Urban Branding

FUBU is back!!! But can they pull it off?

For all the youngsters out there, FUBU used to it...It was everything you wanted to wear (that and Cross Colors). Anyway, these guys were killing the game. FUBU is an acronym for For Us By Us...

How many people remember the Levi's (or was it GAP Jeans?) ad where with LL Cool J? If memory serves me right, he actually dropped a stealth line saying "For us, by us!" in an acapella freestyle? Once the FUBU brand dropped, that Cool J ad was never seen again....If anyone can find it, please send it to me.

Anyway, they are back. Slim Thugs in this ad. I know they can do better than Slim Thug. I'm not mad at him, but its been a minute since he moved me. The ad is pretty dry. Not impressed with the messaging. I hope the clothing is better than this ad *YAWN*...I dunno...Do you think they have the ability to pull it off in 2010?

-Beyond Urban Branding

Reeses Puffs Cereal keeps it fun for the kids (the way it should be)

OK now, if you are a lover of the art of Hip-Hop, ads like this can make you angry. A lot of Hip-Hop purists get upset when they feel the culture is being mocked (see Heineken ad). However, I think its important to remember that this is an ad for kids! Kids is the key word here.

Hip-Hop is youth culture. It could be argued that cereal is youth culture. I think this ad is fun and innovative and I know my kids love this cereal and they do indeed dig the rap. They think its fun...They don't get it confused with a real rap song. Its just a cool jingle that reminds kids to get Reeses Puffs Cereal. I think I might buy a bowl now, my mouth is watering.

-Beyond Urban Branding

Gap ad wins with Hip-Hop dance

Here is an ad for Gap khakis. Its a few years old I think. I like it because there is such a diverse range of races getting their groove on. Makes you wanna go get some, eh?

But seriously, Hip-Hop dance, DJ's and graffiti art are still underused in advertising. I feel like everybody thinks Hip-Hop is just rap. For those that don't know Hip-Hop is composed of a few elements: Rap or MC'ing, DJ'ing, Graffiti, B-boy'ing and other forms of Hip-Hop dance.

The second ad is a cool holiday ad featuring Common. Gap knows how to use rappers right in advertising campaigns.

Both Gap ads shows that someone inside Gap knows that. Great look!!

HP keeps attacking Apple in their own territory: Check out the HP Slate!

The SF Chronicle had a great story by Ryan Kim about the escalating battle with HP and Apple. Everybody has a lot at stake. I love it.

P.S. Much thanks to Scott Budman from NBC 11 for covering Beyond Urban Branding's perspective on the latest tech battle between HP and Apple.

-Beyond Urban Branding

Mary J. Blige and AT&T go hard in the paint

Just the other day we were talking about the cool Palm ad featuring music by Mos Def. I liked it for a lot of reasons. One was because of how they used an African American woman (looking stylish and in charge).

I could not figure out what I like about it. Until I remembered this ad by AT&T featuring Mary J. Blige (I think its about 6 months old). I love this ad deeply. I mean, Mary is doing the style thing hard with new outfits every second. Meanwhile new phones pop up while her song "The One" just drives the ad from start to finish. As a father, I immediately wanted to get the LG Neon for my daughter. Then I remembered how young she is. But it was inspiring and it really did make me want the phone.

As much as I like the Palm ad, it does not compare to AT&T's. AT&T had star power, Palm didn't. Palm didn't make versatility and style jump out at you, AT&T did. Nevertheless, both were hot. No doubt women of all backgrounds are attracted to both ads.

Mos Def keeps it poppin' with Palm

My good friend and amazing author/ad queen Thembisa, just tweeted about this @putyrdreams1st (you should follow her). This is a cool ad by Palm featuring music by the one and only rap icon Mos Def.

I like it a lot. Mostly because it shows something you hardly see enough in ads these days. A confident African American on the move downtown in any city USA. She uses her Palm to find her directions, take a text and talk to her friend (never missing a stride). Its well shot, it has a good pace and she looks like shes having a good time being her.

For the record, ladies love Mos Def (good thinkin' Palm!). They also like seeing themselves empowered. The only thing I might say was weak in this ad is the branding itself. They didn't show you how the Palm WebOS was easier to use, more fun to play around on than any other phone out there. They slipped a bit on the differentiation and positioning. Other wise, real solid.

-Beyond Urban Branding

Heinekin FAILS hard making a joke about Hip-Hop history

I don't remember the year this ad came out (I think it was about 5-6 years ago). What I do remember, is how angry I was. Basically, its a commercial that Heinekin did about the birth of scratching. Scratching is when a DJ moves the record back and forth on the turntable to create various pitches and tones. Its probably one of the most revolutionary evolutions in the history of modern music.

In any case, in the above ad, Heinekin mocked the history of its creation and angered a lot of people within the sub-culture of Hip-Hop. Looking back, I can see how some people may say "Well, aren't you guys being a little too sensitive"? Maybe. But then again, maybe not.

This was a widely played ad. Many people who saw it, were mainstream American folks. Many of whom, don't like or play, or care about rap music, DJ'ing and things of that nature.

Many people in the Hip-Hop community saw it as a MISSED opportunity to share the true history of Hip-Hop and still make a good a…

Radio Shack wins with one line from Biz Markie

Radio Shack Ad feat. Biz Markie

My friend Nasseam reminded me how cool this video was. Its a very simple clean (meaning not a lot of dramatic elements to the ad) by Radio Shack. The wisdom of this ad is that it used a one line sentence from an old school rap lyric to promote cameras. This was real genius. Its a funny, ad, they even used the rapper (Biz Markie) in it. If you don't know or remember the line, its from Just A Friend (it came out in 1989) and it pops up in the last verse. Two thumbs up for creativity and clear messaging on this one.

I think its cool that the ad team understood what a huge hit the song was, how funny Biz is and how an old school rap song could be embraced by todays consumer.

Just a Friend Song by Biz Markie

-Beyond Urban Branding

Old Spice comes back with a powerful ad after failing with LL Cool J

One of the first ads Beyond Urban Branding critiqued, was a horrible "swagger" ad by Old Spice featuring LL Cool J. I really was sad to see Cool J and Old Spice blow such an opportunity. Well, someone else on the ad team at Old Spice must have hated the Cool J campaign just as much. I think this one dropped during or right after the Super Bowl.

Old Spice bounced back hard recently by releasing this ad with a fast talking, well built African American guy. "The Man Your Man Could Smell Like" campaign is just as funny as it is creative as it is psychologically playful. I'd love for someone to review all of the changing elements in the ad. He starts in a shower, then ends up on a boat and then on the beach on a horse. He holds an oyster that opens up and has concert tickets that morph into a handful of diamonds and then he's holding Old Spice. I bet Freud and Jung could write volumes about this ad.

The thing I found most interesting about this campaign is that…

HP's Uphill Battle with Apple


De La Soul

Tony Hawk

HP's new campaign with Dr. Dre is no joke. Its major. Its corporate WAR at its best and I love it! Since I dropped the Dre-n-HP vs. Apple story lots of folks have emailed me, called me and smoke signaled me their thoughts.

The essence of it- Apple ain't going out soft. They have arguably the most loyal followers of any tech brand ever. The other basic reality- PC's are for work, and Apples are for fun. But there is something else going on at HP.

For lack of a better word for it, lets call it the "Jordan Strategy."

Dr. Dre's Detox is possibly the most anticipated rap album in the history of the genre. I think HP is going after the NEW generation of beatmakers. They don't want Apple defectors. They want kids coming up now who see Dr. Dre as Jordan of rap. "Be like Dre" is the short version.

Nike never said other peoples shoes weren't cool, comfortable or fun to wear. "But Jordan wears Nikes" was the bottom line. …

HP and Dr. Dre Checkmates Apple with in their NEW AD

So I go to youtube and HP has a new Dr. Dre ad. It's blowing my mind because, I have written several pieces on HP ads. You can scroll down and see my pieces on Serena and Jay-Z. HP tends to do solid ads with cutting edge artists and athletes.

But Dr. Drizzzle? Man, this is off the meat rack. Long story short, Dre is in the studio with rapper Stat Quo (Southern rappers represent!). He basically talks about how HP makes his music sound like its supposed to. Hewlett-Packard really came tight. Its a clean, quick, focused ad and Dr. Dre did not have to go out of his element to make the ad work. There is no artist Apple can get to counter this. Check and mate my good man. Put the board and the pieces away. Dre is in the building. This was unsuspected and well played.

Now, on the real, its amazing to see Dr. Dre pushing hard for PC's on the music side of the game? Who would have thought Dre uses HP to make those block rockin' beats?

Can Dr. Dre convince young aspiring beat makers …

Tech Week: DJ Hero FAILS to excite, even with Em and Jay-Z

When DJ Hero was announced, I was juiced. But when this ad dropped, I lost bout 50% of my interest. A few posts back I talked about the importance of sometimes just letting an artist do their thing and letting your brand ride the wave. More often than not though, you can't afford to do that. I think ipod squandered an ad with Eminem like that once before.

But this ad, it was just mediocre. I felt no connection to the DJ guy, the rappers or the artists (both of whom I really like).

I think to tighten things up, they should have not gone the mashup route. They should have went with the "How could Guitar get better?" Then actually using a DJ for the first ad?? (hows that for original?).

But alas, I'm sure the creative team asked the question "But WHICH DJ?". Fair question. Here is the answer: DJ QBERT, MixMaster Mike, DJ Kid Dragon, DJ Whoo Kid, DJ Kid Kapri, DJ King Tech- Mike Relm...I could go on...all day actually. But I won't.

DJ Hero went out of their…

Tech Week: Acatel-Lucent Brings it like Wu-Tang, almost

Here is a great ad by Lucent Technologies (now Acatel-Lucent). Its fast paced, very authentically themed for a classic kung-fu film and ends with a comedic punch. The only real critique I have is that, they don't convey what they do. For the record Alcatel-Lucent is the trusted partner of service providers, enterprises and governments worldwide, providing solutions to deliver voice, data and video communication services to end-users..

The thing you cannot deny is, they do hammer home the priceless edge of having a solid partner with you when things get tough.

-Beyond Urban Branding

Tech Week: 2K Games has leaves you drooling for more with Mafia II

Video Games | Mafia II | Exclusive Boom Boom Boom Trailer XBox 360 | Playstation 3 | Nintendo Wii

I just saw this trailer over the weekend and I could not get enough. You can get this for the PC, Playstation 3 and Xbox 360. There is not a lot to say here accept...BOOM BOOM BOOM BOOM!!

-Beyond Urban Branding

Tech Week: Boost Mobile Teams with Kanye, Game and Luda

Boost Mobile has always made funny, creative ads with Hip-Hop themes. This, was possibly one of their best moments. They got Kanye West, The Game and Ludacris to do the Boost Mobile Anthem. This knocked, straight up! Again, sometimes to make your brand work well, just let the artists do their thing.

I don't know anybody who didn't want one of these phones after this dropped. By linking the essence of the South, The West and the Mid West- they really made a winner.

-Beyond Urban Branding

Tech Week: Eminem rips the mic for Call of Duty Modern Warfare 2

Sometimes, the way a brand can win with a rapper is to just let them do their thing.That is the case with Eminem on the Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 ad. I remember as the holidays approached this ad got my blood boiling. Its a very exciting ad. All they had to do was let Em rip and do what he does best- rap.

The way they edited this, it felt more like a movie trailer than an ad. I know thats the desired effect. They nailed it. Just let the artist do them, and slide your name on it. The rest will take care of itself.

-Beyond Urban Branding

Tech Week: The Wisdom of Serena Williams & HP

Beyond Urban Branding opens Tech Week with a true banger of an ad. We'll look at tech ads from time to time on our blog. But this week its gonna be all tech brands, all the time. We will begin with HP's ad featuring Serena Williams.

When we did the first soft launch, we reviewed the precision HP crafted their ad with Jay-Z. It's easily one of my favorite tech ads. I actually feel like HP and a lot of other well done ads don't get their proper recognition because Apple gets so much props for their ads.

OK, so this ad is actually better than the Jay-Z ad for one reason in particular. Strategic co-branding. In one commercial Serena craftily pitches, her video game (never played it but apparently shes got something going on with EA Sports) her designs with Nike and most importantly- her clothing line Aneres.

Now, I don't know why or how Andre 3000 and Uno were able to get shout outs in the ad. Was she just giving them props or did somebody have to pay to get them in...…

Sprites 2007 nearly flawless campaign. Truly amazing.

I received an email from a reader of Beyond Urban Branding named Max from San Francisco. He sent me a link to the old school 2007 Sprite Voltron series.

I had forgotten about these manga styled commercials that used The Goodie Mob, Mack 10, Common, Fat Joe and the Godfather of Hip-Hop Afrika Bambaataa. But once I looked at them again, it is almost the perfect Hip-Hop campaign.

Why? There are many reasons. You could almost do a complete case study just on this ad as a platform for authenticity. I might have to do one just to show illustrate how thorough Sprite was with this one. But I will try to give you the "cliff notes" so to speak.

The rappers chosen all represented different regions and lyrical style within the Hip-Hop community. Some of them have exclusive fan bases. Goodie Mob represents fun, but politically minded rap from the South. Mack 10 represents the west coast underground scene. Fat Joe represents hardcore rap from Bronx, NY. Afrika Bambaataa represents the fou…

2011 Toyota Sienna ad gets swagger right in new ad campaign

Last week we took at look at the the LL Cool J Old Spice ads and talked about how those ads lacked creativity and how Old Spice squandered what could have been a stellar brand moment for them.

Below, is a new Toyota ad for the 2011 Sienna. In this ad we meet the "Sienna Family". The father is a 30'ish looking White guy. While his wife pushes the responsibility of the Sienna, the husband talks about how cool his "Swagger Wagon" is.

Now, while in the Old Spice ad, I talked about how really silly it was to use the word swagger (and other short term trend words) in an ad, on this ad its used perfectly. I say its used perfectly because it is under the umbrella of desperately seeking coolness that he uses the word "Swagger Wagon".

Youtube wont let you embed the ad, so please click below this image and enjoy. Too bad they can't get these things to stop crashing into walls. They were onto something!!

VIEW 2011 Toyota Sienna "Swagger Wagon" ad:htt…

Adidas brand: Blessed by the Kings of Rock, Run DMC

I remember being sent to detention my sophomore year. I don't even remember what I had done (this time). But I hated detention. It was quiet as a morgue. I had nothing to read and it looked like the clock was almost moving backwards. Sitting up ahead of me was Che.We did not really like one another too much, but, we both loved Hip-Hop. Che had his SF Giants starter jacket on and his immaculate jerri curl was dripping like a rain forest all down the back. He had a Sony Walkman (remember those) tucked up under the curl.

He leaned over to me at one point when the teacher was dozing off and said "Have you heard he new Run DMC?" He put the thumping, greasy ear pieces in my hand. I reluctantly put 'em to my head and my mind was blown away.

No rap song earth has had the brand impact of Run DMC's My Adidas. This is arguably the first rap song that doubled as an advertisement. If you were lucky enough to be a teenager when this song came out, you remember the frenzy over …

You can't deny a classic: Nike ads with Jordan and Spike Lee

I recently got an email request from a fan of the blog based in the UK named Amjid. He asked me to discuss at some of the old Air Jordan ads by Nike. I don't think any shoe in the history of the world hit with the impact of Nikes Air Jordan. Michael Jordan was a force of nature on the court. Spike had the world in his hadn, when it came to Black film. I don't know who's idea it was so team these guys up, but the result was unforgettable.

For those that don't remember, Spike Lee had created a character named Mars Blackmon for his movie Shes Gotta Have It. The movie was about a single Black woman was dating several Black men. She was trying to decide which was the best guy to marry. Mars was one of the characters and he (Mars and Spike) both gained large cult followings from the film. This series of ads is top notch. I especially love how the ads are shot in black and white. Mars was the epitome of NY coolness at the time. His style and slang exemplified everything in th…