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Posts Tagged ‘Jay-Z’

Translation to Close Its Chicago Office

new_logo_860We’ve just received word that New York-based Translation, the agency famously founded by Steve Stoute in partnership with Jay-Z, will be shuttering its Chicago office.

Founder/CEO Stoute writes:

“As an agency our mission has always been to provide exceptional service to our clients, and to bring purpose and precision to our creative output. With the recent additions of President Nils Peyron and CCO John Norman in New York, and always with an eye toward the long-term growth of our organization, we have made the decision to bring our team together in New York and close Translation’s Chicago office. This was a hard choice for all of us, but one that will strengthen the agency immediately and for years to come.”
 More info as it comes in.
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kbs+, SiblingRivalry Drench Model in Gold Paint to Sell Jay Z’s New Cologne


What happens when the self-importance of a major celebrity combines with the inherent ridiculousness of a cologne ad? For the answer, just watch agency KSB+P and production company Sibling Rivalry’s spot for Jay Z‘s new cologne — excuse me, fragrance for men — Gold Jay Z.

“This is Jay Z‘s signature fragrance, so we wanted to capture the power and style of the man but also the sensuality of the fragrance at the same time,” explains kbs+ co-CCO Izzy DeBellis, presumably with a straight face. “We needed to find the right balance of personality and product to make it all work, since it’s easy for anything associated with him to be dominated by the mere mention of Jay Z‘s name.”

Apparently it’s impossible to talk about a “fragrance” without sounding completely pompous. Entirely too self-serious SiblingRivalry creative director Joe Wright says, “The agency and client were as excited as we to produce something that is part art film, part brand launch. It gave us plenty of room to experiment.”

So what is this “art film” promoting Jay Z‘s new fragrance? Well, it’s basically gold paint being dumped on model Heidy De La Rosa, while she holds long poses, interspersed with shots of the blinged-out cologne bottle designed by Jacob The Jeweler. Not exactly experimental. Of course they didn’t just dump gold paint on the model: ”a specialty rig altered the lighting, which responded to the glittery liquid, and appears to morph in density and luminosity as it covers De La Rosa.” So there’s that. The 30-second spot was supposedly edited to “reflect the art of the music video,” but, to me at least, it just looks like another perfume ad. Credits after the jump. Read more

Rihanna Joins Jay-Z in Translation, Budweiser’s ‘Made for Music’ Campaign

Budweiser’s new campaign “Made for Music” launches in 85 countries today, featuring Jay-Z and Rihanna carefully dispersed amidst other artists including an ice sculptor and street art painter. Jay-Z’s ad is backed by his song PSA, while Rihanna’s features her newest single, “Right Now.” Both spots are directed by Mark Romanek (Never Let Me Go, Bee Season) and each closes with inspirational words from Bud: “It begins and ends with what you make.”

Made for Music was inspired by the Budweiser Made in America Festival which debuted in Philly last year and Jay-Z headlined. This year, Beyonce and Nine Inch Nails will take the marquee billing over Labor Day Weekend.

Jay and RiRi’s ads are mildly inspiring with their filmic, black-and-white “creative spirit.” After the Samsung deal, Jay-Z’s authenticity feels slightly compromised, but both he and Rihanna are still solid examples of hard-working performers. The scenes are nothing new–star reads in the car, star makes decisions with sweeping hand motions, star stands triumphant as the lights go down–so I wouldn’t mind a bit of original dialogue, but all in all these spots do the job. Time to turn up Magna Carta Holy Grail and channel HOV’s productivity.

Credits after the jump as well as clips from our interview last year with Translation CEO Steve Stoute on his agency’s relationship with “the king of beers.”

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Jay-Z Announces New, Samsung-Sponsored Album via 3-Minute Spot

This three-minute Samsung spot played during halftime of the NBA Finals last night, and it ran before my YouTube videos this morning. It’s Jay-Z, playing with sweet beats, so of course I didn’t click “SKIP AD.” You better not either, because at 1:20 you’re going to bob your head emphatically as Jay and his team recreate the sound of the speakers blowing out. If you skip the ad, you’ll also miss Pharrell’s face, looking incredulous and smiley as he assists Jay’s genius. You’ll miss uber-producer Rick Rubin hanging out on the couch barefoot.

Just as we were getting worked up over Yeezus, HOV comes through with Magna Carta Holy Grail and perhaps the greatest (or at least highest-profile) marketing coup in Samsung’s history. On July 4, the first million Samsung Galaxy users to download a customized app will receive the album for free. Three days later, other drabby people–i.e. iPhone users–get access. It’s a tantalizing prospect, and one that depends on avoiding the lately inevitable leak. Or maybe not–if the app’s “personalized stories and inspiration” really consist of never-before-seen content, then it’s an asset even if (when) the music sweeps the Internet in advance.

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Nissan Taps Google for Technology, Wants Cars to Act Like Skateboards

Nissan is bringing Google Maps to the road, so if you live with a parent or spouse who gets lost regularly and refuses to ask for directions, this car may be a solid investment. Navigation systems aren’t new, but the Google Send-to-Car technology can be accessed and modified remotely. In the sixty-second spot above, you’ll notice Google’s signature blue rope pulling along the Nissan Juke n-tec (I guess nobody will be buying this automobile for the name…) through an unmarked city during the night. And if you’re worried that this promotion will take away the comfort of watching a loved one go crazy in the driver’s seat after realizing he/she is lost, fear not. There’s always the chance that the angry driver will question Google Maps and make up a new route. Then, you can get the popcorn ready.

TBWA\G1 Paris developed the spot and corresponding “Urban Thrill Rides” campaign that will pop across Europe starting this month. Take a second to pay attention to the music, which a rapped by a man who is half-Jay-Z, half-Will Smith, a perfect combination for a European audience. A little pitchy Jay-voice and  some Big Willy over-pronunciation makes everyone happy. Hopefully happy enough for you not to realize that a car is grinding on a median X-Games style. Keep the Google, but maybe next time, we can stop pretending that cars are like skateboards. Safety first.

Credits after the jump.

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Hmm, So Did Translation Win Another Bud Pitch Yesterday?

Well, the details are as scant as can be on this one at the moment, but receiving a “no comment” from an agency on the matter versus flat-out denial certainly raises our suspicions. From what sources tell us, NYC-based agency Translation has apparently won a pitch to A-B InBev and Jay-Z himself yesterday for a global music initiative with Budweiser, which doesn’t seem too far-fetched considering the Hova’s close ties with agency CEO Steve Stoute (not to mention, duh, his actual involvement in Translation) and the former headlining the Bud-sponsored “Made in America” festival last year.

We’re hearing that several folks from the AB-InBev were in attendance yesterday along with Jay-Z and a few Roc Nation execs. You know Translation’s stance at the moment, but we’re of course checking with the brew giant on the matter.

Media Beat Teaser: Steve Stoute on the ‘King of Beers’

Well, we have to say the timing couldn’t be better. Now that the word is out about the grandiose plans for Budweiser’s “Made in America” concert in Philly over Labor Day weekend, we figured we’d post a quick clip from our recent Media Beat interview with Translation founder/CEO Steve Stoute.

Stoute’s agency, of course, has expanded its relationship with A-B InBev in recent weeks as it’s taken over full creative responsibilities for Bud Light. The pair is getting even cozier now that the “Made in America” fest is being turned into a movie directed by Ron Howard, produced by his longtime cohort Brian Grazer and executive produced by A-B InBev U.S. marketing VP Paul Chibe and Jay-Z.

Stoute, who is serving as producer on the project, spent about 45 minutes in our studio a few weeks back (and just days before Translation fully took over Bud Light). Here’s a quick minute clip from our lengthy chat that seems to fit in the context of this week’s news. Look for the full Media Beat interview with the exec to roll out in mid-September.

Jay-Z Stars in Duracell’s Latest Campaign, ‘Never Be Powerless’

Batteries are on the list of “least glamorous items to buy.” When does a celebrity even consider a battery? When has a battery company ever thrown a good party? The people who care about batteries are handymen and people who still have landlines. Ye olde double A is represented by a fluffy pink bunny hitting a drum.

However, Duracell’s latest campaign featuring Jay-Z, which comes to us from NYC shop Woods Witt Dealy & Sons, is an exception to my disparaging battery judgments. Like many brands, they’ve decided to emphasize not their product, but what their product enables. The Duracell Powermat is a wireless charging system that allows a busy, social, stylish New Yorker do everything he wants in a day with his phone always at the ready. And the punch line of this 60-second spot completes it: When our protagonist ends up at the 40/40 club for a late night tipple, guess whose phone he picks up accidentally?

If there’s one New Yorker who should represent a modern sense of power, it’s Hova. Duracell did well by somehow getting him to be the face of this campaign. And actually, it’s a fun step out for Jay, given that rappers typically associate themselves with alcohol brands and clothing. With this smart talent contract and campaign theme, maybe Duracell will succeed in making their battery brand a chic commodity.

W+K, Dodge Establish ‘New Rules’ of Carmaking

Anything backed by the opening thumps of Kanye West/Jay-Z‘s “No Church in the Wild” is bound to be epic. W+K’s latest spot for Dodge is no exception.

This 90-second instructional ad makes car creators look like Mad Men, minus the booze. Instead, they’re drinking coffee, kicking out committees that make compromises, and redefining the modern vehicle. The showcased car is the 2013 Dodge Dart, a compact chariot that can be started via smart phone and gets 41 miles to the gallon.

The copywriters did a fantastic job giving this ad’s narrator a mixture of humorous and informational lines, rhythmically recited over Watch the Throne’s music and a collage of video scenarios. The ad introduces Dodge’s tagline, “New Rules” (wait, does Bill Maher have a case?). If car manufacturing is really about to become this fast-paced and fun, we’re willing to follow Dodge’s guidelines.

Credits after the jump.

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New York Launches Statewide Business Ad Campaign

The state of New York and Governor Andrew Cuomo tapped BBDO NY for the above TV spot, “The New New York, a Whole New Approach to Business.” And, before you pushed play, you could probably guess what celeb they got to narrate the spot, who they got to direct it, and what pop song they selected for its soundtrack.

Yes, Robert DeNiro, Spike Lee and Jay-Z are definitely the most New Yorkiest New Yorkers in all of New York-dom. Now, I’m not criticizing BBDO for going with the most obvious choices here. In fact, the spot would probably feel incomplete without DeNiro’s gruff voice and “Empire State of Mind” playing against shots of the New York City skyline. Not including DeNiro and Jay would be like the city of  Chicago shooting a similar spot and not asking Vince Vaughn and Kanye West to take part. Sorry, Chicagoans, but you know that’s what would inevitably happen.

The spot is part of a state-driven $50 million business marketing campaign that, among other things, includes a $5 million contest to redesign the iconic “I ❤ NY” logo. Needless to say, some people in the media aren’t too fond of this initiative. Regardless, it’s a big win for BBDO, whose president and CEO John Osborn says in a statement, “We are a New York state business and have been here for over 100 years. We know what New York has to offer. So we wanted to create a campaign with a pace and energy that captures, celebrates and reinforces the State’s renewed focus on the business community. At the same time we wanted to demonstrate the depth and breadth of business services that New York State offers.”

Visit the campaign’s new website here and view credits for the spot after the jump.
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