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Posts Tagged ‘Jay-Z’

Jay-Z Has Barney’s Back in Racial Profiling Crisis

shutterstock_108551027Don’t worry, Barney’s: Hova’s got you covered.

The New York department store’s recent racial profiling scandal has led execs to take desperate measures including a “blame the NYPD” damage control strategy as the state’s attorney general investigates the matter. An upcoming holiday sponsorship with Jay-Z complicated things, but the man’s sticking with the brand: he refused online requests to back out of the campaign, and now he’s announced a new move seemingly designed to take some of the heat off Barney’s.

On Friday, he made a statement via his website announcing a change in the campaign: the parties previously planned to donate 25% of sales generated by the partnership to the Shawn Carter Foundation, which provides scholarships to underprivileged youth. That number will now be 100% plus 10% of sales on launch day November 20th.

Jay also gives the impression that he’s taking the lead on the race relations issue:

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It’s Barney’s vs. the NYPD in Racial Profiling Scandal

barneys-ny-logo“Blame the cops” was our basic summary of Barney’s New York‘s damage control response to two lawsuits filed by black shoppers who were approached and, in one case, arrested after buying expensive items at the store.

The company appears to be doubling down on that strategy: yesterday CEO Mike Lee met with Rev. Al Sharpton, apologized to the affected parties (Jay-Z included) and said:

“Our preliminary investigation has concluded that in both of these instances no one from Barneys New York raised any issue with these purchases. No one from Barneys brought them to the attention of our internal security and no one from Barneys reached out to external authorities.”

Could you hear him spinning as you read that statement? From The New York Times today:

Security personnel said they were encouraged to “take chances” in stopping suspicious customers, even if it meant intercepting innocent people. Bad grabs, they said they were told, were part of the business. The number of contacts with the Police Department, made when security workers suspected a person had been shoplifting or engaging in credit card fraud, soon jumped drastically.

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Barney’s Can’t Wait to Discuss Racial Profiling with Al Sharpton

Barneys_30bus

Barney’s New York has a big problem on its hands.

Earlier this month, 19-year-old Trayon Christian was arrested after he purchased a $350 Salvatore Ferragamo belt from the high-end retailer before being released without charge. Then 21-year-old Kayla Phillips came forward to say that plainclothes cops “pushed [her] up against a wall” and questioned her at a subway station near the store after she purchased a $2,100 Celine handbag in February.

Both have hit Barney’s and the NYPD with lawsuits, but this isn’t necessarily a new development for the store. A recent Huffington Post story recalls a similar incident reported by a black Newsweek columnist way back in 1996: after being falsely accused of shoplifting, he went all the way up the store’s executive chain seeking an apology only to have members of the founder’s family tell him that it was his fault the clerk had made a mistake.

Barney’s culture may be a bit backward, but the store’s executives aren’t too disconnected to realize that it’s damage control time. Whether their efforts have been successful so far is up for debate—and a forthcoming holiday campaign starring Jay-Z and his new clothing line complicates the matter.

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Even Kanye Can’t Pitch to Vogue

We know how tough it can be to score press placements for your clients—especially when they have their hearts set on a feature in nose-in-the-air publications like Vogue.

Like every good PR pro, Kanye West knows that his client…err, his newborn daughter, North, should only get the very best publicity. He won’t have any of that “sure you can take ‘intimate’ pictures of me and my infant for $20 million” nonsense.

But even the reigning champion of completely unearned media mentions can’t seem to get Anna Wintour to put his kid on the cover of her magazine, despite the fact that his latest album drew more influence from Versace’s 2014 collection than Jay-Z’s Reasonable Doubt.

RadarOnline writes that Wintour is somehow “nonpulsed” about the prospect of featuring a little West on her cover even after Kanye “compiled the latest … statistics” demonstrating that reality stars still sell magazines. Two things we learned from that last sentence: Kanye knows how to create a spreadsheet with scissors and glue and RadarOnline’s editorial staff doesn’t trust the auto-correct feature.

Thanks to FishbowlNY for making us feel a little smarter today.

‘The Next Big Thing’: Samsung’s Partnership with Jay-Z Demonstrates Shifting Marketing Rules

By now you’ve likely seen the musical, pseudo-philosophical, and now-viral three-minute video announcing Samsung‘s new partnership with Jay-Z, which first aired during the 2013 NBA Finals Game 5. The deal, which cost Samsung $5 million, allows the first million Galaxy and Note mobile device-users who download the corresponding app to access the rapper’s latest album, Magna Carta Holy Grail, for free, three days before the record drops on July 4.

At first glance, the $5 million price tag may seem like a major marketing risk, especially considering that promotions like this don’t usually generate a major sales increase due to the fact that most cell phone users are locked into two-year contracts. Factor in the unthinkable possibility that not every Samsung user is also necessarily an avid Jay-Z fan, and one might wonder whether the tech company could possibly see a decent return on its investment.

But if we instead assume that the goal of this collaboration is media attention and visibility for the brand, rather than a spike in sales, the idea suddenly appears like a match made in marketing heaven. Read more

‘Great Gatsby’ Movie Promotions and Parties Capture Glamorous 1920s New York Lifestyle

The New York metro area is giddy about The Great Gatsby, and for good reason. The highly anticipated movie, to be released on May 10, stars Leonardo DiCaprio as Jay Gatsby and Carey Mulligan as Daisy Buchanan. F. Scott Fitzgerald’s legendary novel of the same name was set on the north shore, or Gold Coast, of Long Island.

Locals are already enjoying movie tie-ins galore, including Tiffany’s ‘Gatsby’-inspired jewelry collection, Prada’s exhibit of movie costumes and Brooks Brother’s new menswear line. The Plaza Hotel’s ‘is unveiling a Gatsby’ suite. Long Island’s historic north shore mansions inspired the cinematic backdrop, so they’re getting in on the action with springtime ‘Gatsby’ galas.

Here’s what we’ve gleaned about the glitzy goods and the upcoming festivities:

Tiffany’s Collection: The luxury jewelry brand, where Fitzgerald was a client, is showcasing a series of 1920s era windows at its Fifth Avenue flagship store. On the main floor, dazzling art deco items are on display. The fourth floor is showing clips from the movie and interviews with designer Catherine Martin, wife of ‘Gatsby director Baz Luhrmann. Nearby are cases of crystal bowls, diamond tiaras and chandelier earrings.

Brooks Brothers’ Clothing Line: Fitzgerald was also a fan of the clothing brand, which has long served affluent customers. The retailer designed the movie’s menswear and recently launched a ‘Great Gatsby’ line. The limited edition clothing interprets the film’s period looks with items such as waistcoats and formal wear. Brooks Brothers is also highlighting its ‘Gatsby’ connection with different window displays at each of its New York City stores.

Prada’s SoHo Store Exhibit: Famed Italian designer Miuccia Prada created the “period accurate but modern” women’s costumes for The Great Gatsby. Starting today, those stylish fashions are being shown at Prada’s store in New York’s SoHo neighborhood. Items include dresses and accessories, in addition to sketches and behind-the-scenes photos.

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Don’t Call Russell Simmons’s New ‘Digital Marketing Company’ an Agency, OK?

If Jay-Z can pretend to be a sports agent then Russell Simmons can pretend to be a marketing guru, right? Sure — just don’t refer to his new company Narrative, which offers “digital marketing, entertainment and technology” services, as an agency.

Why not? Because Simmons and partner Tricia Clarke-Stone want to help agencies, not compete with them. How does that work? Narrative‘s founders say they will use its nascent creative team to produce the “marketing solutions” and digital campaigns that said agencies will then promote. The group already has a couple of clients in Sprint‘s Boost Mobile and Simmons’s own site GlobalGrind.

Simmons and Clark-Stone aren’t exactly new to the promo game — GlobalGrind doubles as a marketing company that’s already served some big-name clients like Pepsi, Tide and Toyota. They see their new venture’s purpose as filling a “gap” in an industry ill-equipped to serve a public for which “urban culture is [now] the mainstream” regardless of race, background or geography. But how can Narrative not compete with agencies when its service description sounds so similar to those of its prospective “partners?”

Simmons has obviously done great work in the past, and we don’t doubt his promotional prowess — but this is a strange rollout, no?

Can Anyone Guess What Beyoncé Will Do Tomorrow?

A Jay-Z post deserves a Beyoncé follow-up, right? Well, this week everyone’s favorite star-spangled pop star made a very…strange video announcement. We only know this thanks to the clip below and the #BeyHereNow hashtag. It’s not an Oasis reference, but it is trending on Twitter as everyone tries to figure out what the hell the announcement is all about: A new single? Another baby? A government grant for robotics research in Beyoncé’s name? Whatever it is, it’s a great promotion.

All this six-second clip tells us is that Queen Bey will make an announcement about something tomorrow and that she has officially begun to make the transition from human to machine.

Do you guys have any idea what this is all about?

(H/T to Flavorwire for the tip.)

Jay-Z’s Newest Gig: Big-Name Sports Agent or Marketing Man?

Jay-ZYou may have heard something about Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter’s decision to expand his business empire into the world of sports management and PR. You may have also heard about the newly-founded Roc Nation Sports‘s first big win — swiping New York Yankees all-star Robinson Cano from Scott Boras, the most powerful agent in baseball. Makes for a nice press release, doesn’t it?

This is all well and good, but it raises a question: what, exactly, is Jay-Z’s role in this venture? Is he really a sports rep, or is he just doing his usual thing as master of promotional initiatives?

Something tells us that this latest story is closer to Carter’s relationship with the Brooklyn Nets than the traditional sports rep game. While the Nets paraded the rapper/mogul in front of any media outlet that would listen in 2012 (aka all of them), hyping his managerial skills and his participation in the team’s logo and jersey design, Jay-Z ‘s responsibilities within the organization are minimal. He owns a tiny share of the property, and the part he played in the Nets’ debut clearly had a lot more to do with getting press coverage than actively guiding operations.

(On a side note, we find it a little curious that Jay chose to slam the very media that fawned over him for “diminishing” his stake in the Nets.)

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Hip-Hop Mogul: Turn In Your Guns and Get Free Beyoncé Tickets

Something tells us this wasn’t what Michael Bloomberg had in mind when he started the “Demand a Plan” campaign–but it has potential. Hip-hop mogul Michael “Blue” Williams, whose clients include Cee-Lo and Outkast and who doesn’t claim to be the world’s best manager despite choosing the Twitter handle @TheBestManager, has proposed a campaign called “Guns for Greatness” designed to reduce the number of firearms on New York streets by offering “mentorships” and free Beyoncé/Jay-Z concert tickets to anyone who turns his weapons in to the police department.

Sure, it sounds a little ridiculous at first, but according to a letter Williams sent to the NYPD earlier this week, he’s already three quarters of the way toward his goal of raising $100,000 to fund the initiative.

Beyoncé, Jay-Z and the NYPD have yet to sign off on the proposal, but top cop Ray Kelly did tell the New York Daily News that “We want to get as many guns off the streets, and if this works, we’d like to support it.”

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