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February 23, 2007

Branding: Does Hip Hop Rule Madison & Vine?

Are hip-hop moguls the most innovative co-branders in the entertainment industry?

seanjohnbrand.jpgI am consistently impressed by the aggressive branding efforts by stars from the hip-hop scene. The crossover branding is pretty good, whether you are talking about Sean Combs or Jay-Z.

A very nice recent case in point is the way rapper DMX has gone from launching a DMX Authentic Line, to a line of canine clothes, to the forthcoming Earl Simmons Signature collection, the new brand name that “turns the Sean John business model on its head - selling his birth-name at a markup, instead of the Macy’s sale rack.”

def_jam_icon.jpgMeanwhile, Def Jam Interactive and Electronic Arts have a feature built into their new video game Def Jam: Icon that allows players to purchase virtual brand name clothing from real life designers as part of their struggle to become hip-hop icons. Don’t expect to see Brooks Brothers or LL Bean in the game, however. Instead look out for clothing from Sean John (natch), Phat Farm and Rocawear.

sedgwick_cedar.jpgThis happens while hip hop fashion brand Sedgwick & Cedar ‘73 - a name which “represents the actual intersection where hip hop was born in 1973 at 1520 Sedgwick Ave (1st House Party) and Cedar Park (1st Block Party) in the Bronx NY” - is born from a promotional mix tape of some of the hottest up-and-coming emcees.

Expect to see yet more of the Sedgwick & Cedar brand name on your sports screens as well as in your iPod: they just hired sports and entertainment agent Glen Toby to promote their name with major entertainers and athletes and are looking for more co-branding deals with other consumer brands worldwide.

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Posted by William Lozito at February 23, 2007 10:53 AM
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Great post. The great thing about branding coming out of the hip-hop / street realm is that the look, feel, smell and touch of the brand is already street tested, ie "thugged", so there is no way around it will have appeal to a core group.

No focus groups needed.

Don't forget about Beyonce, Jay Z's significant other. Beyonce's clothing lines- and are aimed to compete with both the urban fashion brands, as well as more refined couture related brands.

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