The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economyby Steve Stoute
When Fortune 500 companies need to reenergize or reinvent a lagging brand, they call Steve Stoute. In addition to marrying cultural icons with blue-chip marketers, Stoute has/b>
The business marketing genius at the forefront of today’s entertainment marketing revolution helps corporate America get hip to today’s new consumer—the tan generation.
When Fortune 500 companies need to reenergize or reinvent a lagging brand, they call Steve Stoute. In addition to marrying cultural icons with blue-chip marketers, Stoute has helped identify and activate a new generation of consumers. He traces how the “tanning” phenomenon raised a generation of black, Hispanic, white, and Asian consumers who have the same “mental complexion” based on shared experiences and values, rather than the increasingly irrelevant demographic boxes that have been used to a fault by corporate America. Stoute believes there is a language gap that must be bridged in order to engage the most powerful market force in the history of commerce.
The Tanning of America provides that very translation guide. Drawing from his company’s case studies, as well as from extensive interviews with leading figures in multiple fields, Stoute presents an insider’s view of how the transcendent power of popular culture is helping reinvigorate and revitalize the American dream.
“This book is well worth the investment.” — Ebony
“Thoughtful and relevant. It should be required reading for advertising executives, especially those who count themselves among the Baby Boomer generation.” — Forbes.com
“He’s the conduit between corporate America and rap and the street, and the music industry generally,…he speaks both languages.” — Jay-Z
“Steve is credible in the music and entertainment worlds. Then he can switch gears, walk into the boardroom of a Fortune 500 company and speak his ideas in a way they can understand.” — Dennis Baldwin, Reebok’s top marketer
“[He’s] the right guy for guiding brands in using the record industry to reach youth culture in a credible way.” — Jimmy Iovine, CEO of Interscope Geffen Records
“The man who converts urban entertainment into corporate dollars.” — Complex
“In the loud, boastful world of urban culture, Steve Stoute has become a quiet but powerful force. And big corporations are betting he can deliver more bang for their bucks.” — Vibe
“Steve Stoute is making hot sellers out of cold brands.” — Business Week
“Stephen Stoute understands the value of the celebrity sell.” — Black Enterprise
“Stoute has masterminded an impressive array of brand/artist hookups.” — Advertising Age
An innovative advertiser shares views on cross-cultural marketing, using lessons from the explosion of hip-hop.
Stoute, founder of Translation Consultation & Brand Imaging, specializes in forging connections between established corporate brands and the community of musicians, rappers, actors and sports figures generally referred to as "urban." His basic point, repeated frequently, is that the demographic and social changes suggesting America is becoming more multi-hued and tolerant (the so-called narrative of "tanning") present new and exciting opportunities for promoting products in a competitive marketplace. He ties this argument to hip-hop's rise and gradual commercialization, starting with the grassroots success of the first Sugar Hill record "Rappers Delight" and the legendary 1986 concert where Adidas' German executives first heard Run-DMC's "My Adidas." Stoute argues that the aspirational nature of hip-hop—the crucial sense of outsider identity it provided from the 1970s through the '90s—makes it the ideal medium for merchandising everything from luxury goods to soft drinks: "being brand-conscious was nothing new for African-Americans—who I contend are the absolute best consumers in the world." By the early '90s, writes the author, advertisers and corporations perceived hip-hop's credibility and sales potential but were in dire need of "translators"—i.e., cultural point men who could demystify its codes and rituals. This led Stoute to transition from RCA's black music division to advertising; he realized "tanning" was affecting all aspects of consumer culture. The author's strength is his recall of various real-world examples of "tanning" in the lucrative, high-stakes arena of mass culture, seen in the success of Mary J. Blige, LL Cool J, Will Smith and other luminaries. He also discusses business narratives such as the "soft drink wars" and the changing fortunes of Reebok and Tommy Hilfiger to illustrate how his principles can help brands stay nimble and attuned. However, his specific prescriptions for businesses often seem general and dependent on buzzwords.
An unabashed celebration of branding, bling and the potency of marketing and consumer desire.
- Penguin Publishing Group
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- Product dimensions:
- 5.30(w) x 7.90(h) x 0.70(d)
- Age Range:
- 18 Years
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Meet the Author
Advertising Hall of Achievement inductee Steve Stoute is the founder and CEO of the leading brand-marketing firm Translation. He is also the managing director and CEO of hair-and-body-care line Carol’s Daughter, and has appeared in the critically acclaimed book and HBO series The Black List.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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This book is extremely relevant, especially considering today's economic climate. It connects the dots between a large diverse consumer base previously ignored huge business conglomerates. When purchases are made based on the "cool factor" as opposed to it's necessity, it's safe to say it's a group to be reckoned with; and one retailers should never ignore or take for granted.
Great Book. This book combines Hip Hop culture and marketing, a must read for any marketing student.
It is important to acknowledge a refreshing perspective on the forces contributing to mainstream retail enjoying what I call the "Co-branding of America"