Thursday, February 14, 2008

remixes, collaborations and brand strategy

one little known love of mine is hip hop. yes, you can laugh at the notion. however, in addition to my love for slow geetar tunes and folksy rock, i nod my head to Notorious frequently. i'm working on a little pet project right now, dissecting collaborations between brands and in that process uncovered this video/song from The Pack: Vans.

got me thinking about collaborations and remixes that crossover between two very different brands or cultures. The Pack's video and the buzz that's surrounded it is evidence that a cross-over from one culture to another can have a powerful impact. whodathunk the traditionally white-boy-skater shoes could infiltrate the sneaker-zealot hip hop culture in such a big (billboard topping) way? cross-over of kicks in hip-hop culture aren't new (think Nike SB Dunks and Air Force 1s), but The Pack is suggesting quite a big change in the way people are dressing and that doesn't come around too often. moreover, i think this is an example of a shattered ceiling for some brands that might not have the guts or insight to enter into new markets.

keeping within the remix theme, i downloaded well-known DJ Amp Live's finally-released remix of Radiohead's In Rainbows. wow. brilliant composition and incredibly respectful evolution to a stellar In Rainbows. i ran some errands during lunch today and pumped the album. the Jetta is 10x cooler as a result. the below videos document Amp's attempt to get around a cease and desist from Radiohead's management, then the thank you video once Radiohead let Amp put the remix out (for free download, of course).

not only is the remixed album amazing, but it's a brilliant collab (per Radiohead's OK) across two very differnt musical genres (with equally proud fans) and ends up elevating both artists' brand and work. please download it. your afternoon will be better.

the most notable collaborations are the collabs you wouldn't have thought of, but once you see them materialized, make total sense. so how does one or one's brand get there? i believe the answer resided in an understanding of cultural needs and consumer insight. it's more than brand a looks great with brand b. it's about empowering consumers to crossover to a new style, culture or mindset via a remix of the familiar.

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