Picks of the Week: October 1, 2019
Strategic Planning Coordinator
Jay Z & Roc Nation Enters Long-term Partnership with the NFL
Jay Z and Roc Nation recently announced a partnership with the NFL. As part of the deal, Roc Nation will consult on major events, including the Super Bowl halftime show. They will also work together on various initiatives to give athletes a platform to have their voices heard on issues that they care about. Finally, the NFL will donate to various charities that Roc Nation helps select.
Many people have issues with this partnership. One side of the spectrum feels that Jay Z is a sell-out for partnering with the league given that Colin Kaepernick is still unemployed by the NFL, and thus see Jay Z as putting his back to the community in which he has worked so hard to create a voice for. On the other hand, many view this as an opportunity for Jay Z to have a seat at the table with important NFL decision-makers, to give a voice to athletes whose opinions have been previously silenced. I think in order to weigh the true impact that Jay Z will have with this effort, we must wait and see: If Jay Z’s actions hold up to his promises, then this partnership could be a pivotal turning point for the NFL, by bringing about positive change regarding issues concerning minority athletes and disadvantaged communities.
Stay tuned for next week’s blog, where we will sit down with the #HumansOfMKTG to discuss the role brands and sponsors play in speaking up on social issues.
Rihanna’s SavageX Fenty Fashion Show on Amazon Prime
Rihanna’s Savage X Fenty fashion show premiered this last week on Amazon Prime Video and has been one of the most talked about shows at New York Fashion Week. In keeping with the aesthetic of the singer’s label, which this season offered a plethora of body-positive lingerie in bright solid hues, the showcase played out more like a technicolor fashion spectacular than a conventional runway show.
Media outlets from CNN, Time, and Huffington Post covered the show and praised it for its inclusivity and diversity, and crediting Rihanna for changing the fashion industry for the better. Rihanna and her team have stated that they wanted ‘every single person’s body to be seen and celebrated like a work of art, rather than just a clothes horse to be outshone by the art.’ As many other female-focused brands have failed to do, Rihanna’s Savage x Fenty line successfully celebrated women’s bodies and sexuality in an inclusive and diverse environment.
Ninja Signs Multi-year Partnership with adidas
adidas Originals recently announced a partnership with titular online personality and egamer Ninja. The collaboration was teased on YouTube, with a narrative around the time and effort it requires to master your craft. While the details of the partnership haven't been announced yet, the brand says that the partnership might lead to products in the "digital or physical world". Although adidas has sponsored esports teams before, the choice to sponsor an individual influencer versus an esports property (e.g. Overwatch League, Team Liquid) opens new activation opportunities. Whereas properties engage a very devoted subset of the gaming community, influencers can often have wider appeal in this ecosystem. Personalities like Ninja in particular have transcended the medium and become more widely known in mainstream media.
The ‘Time In’ video embodies the collective dream of chasing your passions. Who better to embody those values than one of the brightest stars in recent Twitch history?
City of Toyota Stadium
There is a city in the Aichi prefecture of Japan, near Nagoya, named Toyota. The city changed its name from Koromo to Toyota in 1959 following the development of the auto industry in the region and is the headquarters of the global automotive giant. In 2019, the city will host four matches of the Rugby World Cup, including one involving the hosts Japan and another involving the famous All Blacks at its 45,000 capacity Toyota Stadium.
Although it won’t be called that.
World Rugby insists on clean stadiums and clean player uniforms at all Rugby World Cups to protect its own commercial sponsors’ interests, much like the Olympic Games. World Rugby requested that the City of Toronto change the stadium’s name from “Toyota Stadium” to “City of Toyota Stadium” to protect its automotive sponsor Land Rover, despite the fact that the stadium is named after the city and does not include the automotive company’s branding. World Rugby also requested the City remove the large external stadium branding, an example that we often see as contract stipulations in major naming rights deals.