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Reebok Pulls 50 Cent Ad. Spotlight Shines on the Difficulty of Aligning With Rappers.


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April 18, 2005

Reebok Pulls 50 Cent Ad. Spotlight Shines on the Difficulty of Aligning With Rappers.

David Kiley

I have been spending a lot of time with rappers lately. It's a long story. One thing I find fascinating about these performers is their quest for marketing deals. Remember when Paul Simon used to refuse to sell his music for advertising? No more. But the latest fracus over a 50 Cent Reebok ad in the U.K. spotlights the challenge marketers have when they want to tap into the most influential music genre in the world right now.

Reebok has pulled a 50 Cent TV commercial after complaints that it glamorized guns. Advertising Standards Authority spokeswoman Donna Mitchell said that over 50 viewers had complained about the commercial. As part of Reebok's "I Am What I Am" campaign, it features 50 Cent counting from one to nine in reference to having been shot nine times. Now, here's where it gets preposterous. A Reebok spokesperson said the ad was "intended to be a positive and empowering celebration of this right of freedom of self-expression, individuality and authenticity."

Oh Brother! Here's the deal. 50 Cent is a huge success, with four of the top ten songs on the chart right now. His Reebok line, I am told, is outselling Jay Z's Reeboks, which were already outselling Allen Iverson's. He is big money, because he's at the top of his game.

Rappers write about violence, poverty, women, sex, drugs, music, death, love, the food they eat, the cars they drive and the stuff they want. It's often not pretty. But it's honest. It's not "Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds" or "The Sounds of Silence." And it's not meant to be. You want to go through a truly comical exercise? Look up rap lyrics on the Internet, and size them up without hearing the performer sing them.

Here are some 50 Cent lyrics: "nigga that watch is nice/that's what you bought from me/that chain is nice/that's what you bought from me/them earrings is nice/That's what you bought from me?/Take that shit off, move I'll break you off properly/I get mine the fast way, ski mask way/Make money/Make/money, money, money/nigga if you ask me/It's the only way/Take money/Take money/money, money/"

One stat I came across from firm TMG is that 100 million people in America may be influenced these days by hip-hop. Advertisers have to decide of they are going to play in this space or not. If you want to leverage hip-hop, then there are no half-measures, because the lyrics above are pretty tame. And if Bill O'Reilly or Focus on the Family come knockin' at your door with boycotts, you are going to have to choose sides. Trying to play both the hip-hop street and the avenue of political correctness is not going to work.

06:22 PM

marketing/social policy

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Tracked on April 20, 2005 04:24 PM

I think 50 cent is one of greatest rappers of all time if not the best i like it how he speak his mind i think his lyrics are great my best ones are on "many men" when he says " he got hit like i got hit but he aint fuckin breathing " and on "21 questions" when he says " i love you like the fat kid love cake " and " you know my style al say anything to make you smile " i dont see why people have a problems with him if you dont like dont listen to it

Posted by: Tommy at October 19, 2005 08:53 AM

You summarize everything with "Trying to play both the hip-hop street and the avenue of political correctness is not going to work."

I say it will work in some instances and won't in others.

Why? Because the business models being used today surely allows the executives really in charge of the the game (from signing up rapper, to the marketing & advertising involved, to paying rappers, to dictating what a rapper can & can not do, etc..) every opportunity to try to do exactly this.

It's all, really, a matter of control. Pay someone handsomely enough, more often then not he or she will - for the most part - go along with the program.

Posted by: Donny Harry at October 20, 2005 11:17 AM

I 've sent a comment to this blog. Why was it not posted? A response would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

Posted by: Donny H. at October 21, 2005 12:00 PM

hi i live in south africa..i want my car to be pimped by 50 cent!! to show poeple how 50 cent does things!!! i want to kick ass!!!!

Posted by: Leclu? at December 2, 2005 03:50 AM

Fifty cent is a great rapper .I like him a lot ,but I wish that he would leave the violence alone.He's on top of the game. There's no excuse for violence.

Posted by: Denise Dial at December 4, 2005 07:24 AM

i think that game and 50 should of just made music not beef but hell what happend did happen so oh well. but i thnik 50cent is a bitch ass nigga becuase all that talking shit on records is played out just like he siad on his track on the get rich or die tryin cd. and now hes talking madd shit like he bout somthing but he aint yeah he got shot and survived 9 times o well good 4 u make good music or shut the fuck up.now the game personally i like his style and the way he raps he seems like hes on a g status b ut all im sayin is the niggas out there on the tracks talking shit about each other do somthing like they would be talking madd shit and then saying to watch out or they gonna get u these niggas go to a awards show and beefin and they dont throw one punch these fags. and i heard when 50cent aka curtis scary jackson is at connecticut where im from holla 203 all day after was saying he hates ct and fuck connecticut and now the big diseil fag is in ct looking to buy a house this g unot dummy is corny. game is on real shit to me and he just gotta get in a studio and make hot shit fuck 50 he fake ass fuck and who talks shit and runs around with 50 cops thinking they hot its pito in this bitch and trust me ill pop 50 quickly in a freestyle battle he cant stand a chance even though he think he boss ill run up to his mansion and spary it up now who tuff 50 let me get rich ill put a few more bucks that 50 nigga u wack u made madd money off bullshit singles whitch i aint gonna lie i liked a few but i heard u a snitch ass nigga so i didnt fuck with ur music at all nigga holla back meriden ct 203 niggas is hustling to do whatever to eat 50 trust dog u aint hot in the streets ill smack u with tha burner and toast yo ass up i put my gack up and scream fuck gunit i mean gu-not trust if i had a record deal i would be down to diss 50 4 sure and im a lil 17 year old nigga u heard u punk ass bitch. ima kick a lil flow for those niggas who aint snitching and that dont like 50 nigga u better back down ill lay the mack down nigga what now i look at ur face and just laugh now u fucking clown dissin niggas who is better that u act now i stay strapped with the four fif ill leave u on the floor stiff and snipe ur g unit niggas from my roof with daisy pick up ur bodys roob u for all ur shit and money in ur pocket and dumb ur body u dumb bitch u make me laugh u stupid ass niggas but i will tell u this atleast u making money soits like yea fuck whoever wrote thisthey aint got my fame but i think u lame you corny ass nigga ps. step ur chain up instead of that dumb ass faded cross u ugly bitch get some hot shit u rich right dumb asss hahaha

Posted by: pito at December 31, 2005 07:38 PM

You people really have no clue, since when could rappers only talk about dumb ignorant shit like that? You guys are f*cking brainwashed, 50 Cent is a terrible musician, a terrible rapper and a terrible 'role model' for the children which are his fans. I find it highly offensive that the writer of the article sums up a whole culture in "violence, poverty, women, sex, drugs, music, death, love, the food they eat, the cars they drive and the stuff they want"

This is the corporations view of Hip-Hop this is what they are telling you it is. Hip-Hop was made on the streets of NY not a corprate board room. Mainstream rap is not hip-hop, it's WHITE MUSIC not black music. It has no soul, or even skill. With the exception of few.

Here's some suggestions to get you into REAL HIP-HOP

http://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/listmania/fullview/KRA0ZC5B3W5M/104-8374155-2906321?%5Fencoding=UTF8

http://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/listmania/fullview/18CVZKIUBCQK8/103-9322821-8973432?%5Fencoding=UTF8

http://www.amazon.com/gp/richpub/listmania/fullview/32ZASJW21H8ZW/103-9322821-8973432?%5Fencoding=UTF8

And incase you didn't know, RAKIM is the greatest of all time.

Peace

Posted by: Hip-Hop Head - The Chief Rocka at January 29, 2006 04:01 PM

50 Cent is a glorified clown. He is here solely to entertain you, the stuff that he says is mostly made up. He blatantly tells you this in his song "In Da' Club"...."I'ma tell you what Banks told me cuz' go 'head switch the

style up

If the niggas hate then let 'em hate

just watch the money pile up." He even stole the name 50 Cent from a dead NY gangster. I'm happy he's getting paid and all, just please KEEP IT WHAT IT IS.......ENTERTAINMENT!!!! It is nothing to EMULATE nor IDOLIZE!!

Posted by: Xenchi at February 3, 2006 05:45 AM

Reebok, the sportswear brand recently acquired by Adidas-Solomon AG, is causing something of a stir with its “shockers”. And by “shockers” we’re not referring to a new innovative bio-mechanical and ergonomic footwear revelation - God forbid! No, we’re referring to controversial advertising which includes depictions of Satan - indeed, God forbid!

Only last year Reebok ran a controversial television advertisement which depicted 50 Cent, the renowned uber-rapper and former drug dealer who lives in Connecticut, counting the number of bullets that have been shot at him. The famous rapper laughs and then looks into the camera as a voiceover asks, “Who do you plan to massacre next?” The advertisement was pulled in the United Kingdom. This type of tired and frankly puerile advertising is a long way from Reebok’s roots which where planted in the soil of step-aerobics and Richard Simmons’ anti-inertia classes. Indeed, the brand appears to be at the antithesis of its roots with its direct association with the negative side of hip-hop culture.

Given the negative connotations associated with Reebok’s patently obvious attempt to woo the dark side, many knowledgeable commentators are asking could this negatively impact their new parent company, Adidas. Adidas still has a strong customer base in Middle America and mainstream Europe and surely the last thing they would want to do is alienate their main customer base by supporting advertisements glamorising Satan and murder.

The Congress of Racial Equality is outraged by Reebok’s negative message about black men. “50 Cent was a drug dealer and proud of it,” says Niger Innis their spokesperson. “The fact that corporations are going to reward that kind of behavior is an outrage.” Let’s hope Reebok and now, more importantly, Adidas take note of this valuable advice and they start to glamorise wholesome and decent role-models and ideologies.

Posted by: Kitmeout at February 16, 2006 10:45 PM

I FEEL 50 CENTS IS A GREAT RAP ARTIST AND THOSE OF YOU WHO DISAGREE ARE SILLY FUTHER MORE ALMOST EVERY RAPPER I KNOW NOW IN THE NEW YEAR OF 2000 RAP ABOUT SEX,MONEY,ROBBING,KILLING,WOMEN, SO 50 CENTS IS NOT DOING NOTHING THAT NO ONE ELSE HAS DONE BUT YOU ALL ARE BEING HARD ON HIM. AND PITO STAY IN SCHOOL AND FOCUS ON YOUR SPELLING BEFORE YOU START BAD MOUTHING SOMEONE GET TO WHERE 50 IS NOW.

Posted by: natesha at March 1, 2006 05:45 PM

Mr. Kiley mentioned something about reading rap lyrics without the music. Reading them is almost as entertaining as reading what rap fans write in an attempt to appear intelligent. (see above) I thought this crap would have blown over years ago. It is, after all, the same thing over and over. Uneducated thugs glorifying the very things their sainted mothers fear and despise. Except of course, Tupac's mom and her like.

These are all simply symptoms of a society rapidly going downhill. While there is a small segment of rap that is good, the majority of it (the stuff that is most popular) is nothing more than shit. I think people who like this garbage and what it portrays, especially as a lifestyle, should absolutely immerse themselves in it. And when the smoke clears, the herd will be thinned of its weakest.

Posted by: Fergie at April 1, 2006 12:12 PM

No offense but, you got the lyrics wrong. When you said it was "That's what you bought from me?", it's actually, "That's what you bought FOR me?" ie. He's being sarcastic and he's stealing it.

Posted by: Middlemoor at August 11, 2006 08:36 AM

I hope that my lyrics corrections get posted, or else it will be highly ironic for the author and responses to this thread to call rap lyrics "unintelligent."

Posted by: Middlemoor at August 12, 2006 09:12 AM

50 CENT IS MA FAVOURIST RAPPER SO IF UR DISSIN HIM UR DISSIN ME . ALL HIS SONGS INSPIRE ME OF BEING ONE AND AM HOPIN 2 B JUST LIKE HIM.SO LIKE THE BITCH ASS MOTHERFUCKERS OUT THERE U BETER WATCH WHAT UR SAYIN ABOUT 50 OR ELSE U MITE END UP LIVIN IN THE BINS AND AL B LAFIN IN UR FACE THAT AM A RAPPER AND UR NOTHIN.

Posted by: Adeel Drugs at August 13, 2006 09:17 AM

I dont have the CD. But when I google the lyrics, it comes up as both "for me" and "from me."

is Fiddy reading out there? Which is it for sure?

Posted by: kiley at August 15, 2006 05:00 PM

I think 50 is succesfull at where other rappers have failed. He is a genius promoting his music, clothing line, and shoe line with out selling out. He makes the moves that's why you hear all these companies trying to pull his sneakers and shit. Cause he dont compromise with them. I think his one of the few that really used hip hop to gain money and fan support without selling out. If rebok dont like his slogan tough he can sign with others while they miss out on millions.

Posted by: Hussein19891 at October 10, 2006 03:01 AM

Adeel Drugs, you're retarded. Simply...retarded. You'll never make it to rapping, and you'll never do ANYTHING without getting some education first. And one day maybe you and I will meet. Let's see if you can take a army ranger down...big boy.

Posted by: Colt1x at November 3, 2006 12:46 AM

ive been shot befor ill give you some advise how it feels "it burns when the bullet enters your flesh it burns ive been shot 5 time one in my left leg onece in my left arm once in me left ancle once in my chest and one more in chest opasite to from my heart " im proud to be alive today i died for about ten minuts the docter said and wanna know how i got shot.... for dissing the bloods on a under ground mix tape i got drive by'd on when walking to the store for a coke i said on a record "let it rain let it flood let a crip kill a blood let it rain let it thunda bury a slob 6 feet unda" just for saying those to dissis i lost my life and its a miricle i moved out of compton and moved to south side queens in brooklen cause i like the ghetto it feels like home to me back to the bullets hitting me any way i got shot in the foot to enter the 90th street east coat crips but im lucky im out of there my uncle was a leader he let me out i got out about 1 year ago but i hope to meet 50 cent because we would be good friends and spider loc i realy wanna meet him and im just a 15 year old rapper with 5 scars in my body o i ment to say 6 for when i joined the crips but it realy burns getting shot and getting stabbed is a hole diffrent ball game i got stabbed twice one in the leg and on in my back for punching out the rong person and it was a crips that stabbed me to i thank god for being alive to day and thats my biogarphy

Posted by: ezit at November 9, 2006 09:57 PM

I have much respect for 50 and what he does now that takes a real man to do that.And I don't know whats up with mine black people that don't want to get off their ass and do something instead of acting all jealous becaue someone else has what they want.When I was younger I had a aunt that gave me some good advice she told me to never to beg for beg for anything and so I don't,And thats why I have much much respect for mine boy 50 who keeps me on mine P's & Q's I luv that.Thank You Mr.Jackson!

Posted by: Regina at December 14, 2006 03:01 PM

50 cent is a bitch and a snitch...its all about the game...tony yayo is too...that bitch nigga got locked up for a fake passport not because he a gangsta...and he is like 30 years old...

Posted by: Tim at December 30, 2006 03:50 PM

In reply to Pito:

Rap is crap full stop.

Posted by: Martin at March 6, 2007 10:26 AM

Start up companies attempt to hop on coattails all the time. And your comment on Sams Club is a perfect example. Sam Walton could have named his stores Sams Mart or Walton Mart but he chose Wal Mart. Of the three, which appears closest to Walgreens? WBR LeoP

Posted by: World Health at March 9, 2007 07:02 PM

First thing is that a lot of the people who're posting comments towards the writer shouldn't take the article so personal. 50 Cent himself said that he's not the best rapper and that he's not concerned with being the best lyrically. 50 makes good songs and is very good at making choruses which people grasp more than deep lyrics. It's a known fact that rappers are dumbing down their lyrics to get a wider audience these days. 50 was very fortunate to hook up with Jam Master Jay in his early years. Jay taught him how to make good songs as opposed to hot verses. Since then, 50's focus switched from writing good lyrics to creating a good overall song structure. This attracts people who are not necessarily rap fans thus giving him a wider audience. In an interview he said that he started his first single (In the club) with the line "Go shorty, it's your birthday...." because everyone has a birthday so it's something that everyone can relate to. It's also a chant that a lot of people already say at birthday parties so he connects with that audience immediately....

Paradox

Brooklyn NY

Posted by: Paradox at March 28, 2007 05:23 PM

50 cents a bitch and he needs to stop actin like hes a thug cuz all he is is a snitch all u g-unit fans need to watch BEEF the movie before u start defendin him if u like his music ok but dont beleive half that bullshit he says hes a punk and WATCH BEEF THE MOVIE! it shows how much of a bitch he is.

Posted by: ijnefhiyrfhyfrgyhfrguyh at April 27, 2007 08:58 PM


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