Friday, August 29, 2008

What’s going in the LAB

CultureLab has really taken off over the last couple of months and we have been BUSY. We have added new capabilities in the areas of quantitative research, trendspotting/cultural anthropology, digital communications planning and CRM/Metrics.

Also check out our billboard for Dr.Pepper in front of Texas Stadium, where the Dallas Cowboys play, at the juncture 183 and 114.

CultureLab has recently done work for, Saatchi NY, Dr Pepper national account sales, and EDS Credit Union. To learn more, visit us at

Rise of the Black Hipsters in the Post Hip Hop Age

written by Kevin Walker

It is pretty much a universal belief in the advertising/entertainment circles that African American youth are pretty much the initiators of many trends that eventually reach the mainstream. Is that still true?

As an agency that prides ourselves on being rooted in research we are seeing that this is not necessarily the case.

We recently went to LA and Atlanta to do some trendspotting on behalf of one of our Clients, and what we saw developing was antithetical to that traditional belief that Black kids start trends. What we witnessed was that many African American youth are mimicking the fashion, musical taste, and activities of the Williamsburg, Brooklyn “hipsters” and West Coast skate punks. We are talking about young people wearing skinny jeans, the hipster scarfs, backpacks, streetwear graphic tees, etc. In addition to the fashions, we noticed that many Black youth in Atlanta and LA were into skateboarding and BMX biking. The icons of this Black hipster movement are Kanye West, Spankrock, The Gym Class Heroes, and Pharrell Williams. The cool clothing brands are no longer Phat Farm, and Sean Jean, they are now Hollister, Ed Hardy, Abercrombie and Fitch, Krewe, The Hundreds, and Crooks and Castles. It should be noted that none of these brands originated from urban hip-hop icons.

Did skateboarding originate in the hood? What about BMX biking? Or the skinny jeans trend? The answer is no. As you may or may not know, these are activities that emanate from the Southern California suburban areas.. So we see this new dynamic at work where suburban trends are shaping the taste of Black urbanites. Our research points to the internet being one of the key catalyst for this new dynamic. My Space, Youtube, celebtity gossip blogs have democratized informational flow. So the influence dynamic becomes two way (suburban to urban, urban to suburban). This is a HUGE trend we see developing that will shape attitudes towards racial identity, and youth trends for years to come. Issues of class also come into play here. The bottom line is that corporations and marketers cannot continue to live on past assumptions. Dynamics are different and agencies like ours will become more valued partners as these dynamucs change so quickly.. Real time research and trendspotting will continue to gain in stature.

Double your pleasure, Double your fun?

written by Priyanka Patel

Recently, I was jamming out to my new favorite song, "Forever" by Chris Brown, when I caught part of the lyrics,"double your pleasure, double your fun." "Hmm, that’s weird," I thought, "was Chris Brown even alive when that Wrigley’s Doublemint ad came out? You know the one, where there is a video montage of a variety of twins doing a variety of activities all while supposedly chewing on Doublemint gum, with a voice over proclaiming "double the pleasure, double the fun!"

I later mentioned my thoughts to my boss and he informed me, (much to my shock) that Wrigley’s had actually commissioned Chris Brown to write an extended version of their old Doublemint jingle in the form of what is now the song "Forever."

Forever - Chris Brown

Now as someone in the advertising industry, I know I should be applauding the innovative way that we can now market products, but I don't. In fact, I feel that this is a deceptive way to market because the audience doesn’t even know they are being marketed to. I know the old adage "what you don’t know won’t hurt you," but in this case it does. It hurts the ad industry because when people do find out, a lot are outraged at the fact and feel deceived, which could cause industry backlash. Industry backlash could happen in a variety of forms from boycotts to tighter advertising and marketing laws which would end up restricting the ad industry even more than before. It hurts the audience because they become even more jaded overall about advertising causing them to pay less attention to it, which in the end hurts us all.

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Toy Punks Vol. 1

With the rising popularity of vinyl toys, its not all too surprising to see the designer toy culture as the next subject for a documentary. Toy Punks exposes the world of vinyl toys, and more specifically, "the intersection of Japanese toys, fashion and punk rock. Volume 1 of the series (released November 15, 2007) was shot on location in Japan and the US, and "explores a profound cross-cultural exchange between American and Japanese creators."

For more information visit

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Mobile Technology, and the Youth Market

Needed to send an email, but had no internet access? Wanted to send a text but had your hands tied? Queue in Jott, a free service that transcribes your voice to SMS text, email, or even a blog post.

Scenario: You are on your way to work but get caught in morning rush-hour traffic. You needed to send an important email to a client, but had no way of getting internet access. Simply call Jott’s 866 number, choose your contact, speak, and it’s sent! Fast, efficient and easy to use. It even allows you and the recipient to review the recording, just in case there were any speech-to-text errors. See list below for other things you can accomplish through Jott:

- Schedule events

-Set up a Reminder

-Text message yourself, a friend, or a group

-Make a blog post

-Search for items, and receive the results in your email

- Get the latest updates on news, weather, and blog updates right in your ear

- Email yourself, a friend, or a group

Visit for more of Jott’s services.

Living in the digital age, youth and adults alike know the importance of staying connected. And with the California Texting and Driving Law in-effect, it is also important to stay safe and legal. Jott lets us accomplish both through its easy to use service; a perfect solution for our many needs.

Youth and Mobile Tech

Services like this seem to be a natural step in the evolution of mobile technology. With that said, it is critical to acknowledge the importance of mobile tech and services.

Youth and Mobile Facts

- 1.1 billion youth own a mobile phone

- The lifetime value of a mobile youth consumer is $28,000

- By 2010 youth will spend $300 billion on mobile phones and services

Clearly, a market that cannot be ignored.

In the political world, mobile technology has already been recognized as a powerful tool to help reach out and connect with young adults. The Jott the Vote service, for instance, allowed anyone to call and leave a message for any of the presidential candidates.

Even the Pope has recognized its importance, and has used mobile technology to reach out to youth!

Pope Goes Digital to Better Connect with Youth

Sources: mobileYouth

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Friday, August 8, 2008

Diversity Changes in U.S. Population

photo by swanksalot

The following New York Times article discusses America's growing diversity, stating that "one in four American counties have passed or are approaching the tipping point where black, Hispanic and Asian children constitute a majority of the under-20 population"

Please Visit for the full article

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Saturday, August 2, 2008

Chromeo- Momma's Boy

photo by divertingbailey
Straying from their hip hop roots, Chromeo (consisting of artists Dave 1 and P-Thugg) put down their vinyls, and dust off their synthesizers, keyboards, and talk-boxes to explore the genre of electro-funk.
Please visit for the duo's bio.

More to come on the return of electro-funk.

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Friday, August 1, 2008

Hispanic Youth Trends and Issues

In a recent study conducted by our summer intern (Erica Hernandez) several Hispanic youth ages 15-18 were asked a series of questions about current issues and trends:

1. What social issues are important to you
Global warming
Going green and preserving the earth
2. What type of music do you listen to
3. Who are your favorite music artists
Taking Back Sunday
Mariah Carey
Chris Brown
The Jonas Brothers
Michael Jackson
Alicia Keys
Lil Wayne
4. What website do you visit most

Runner Ups-
5. What are your favorite TV shows
Cartoons or programs designed for younger viewers
The Cosby Show
6. Who do you look up to
Family members (Parents and Grandparents in particular)
Church Leader/Pastor
Social Leader (Barack Obama)
7. What is your primary language
(Spanish learned at a later time)
8. What is the hottest brand right now
Abercrombie & Fitch
9. What is the hottest sneaker
Nike Air Forces
10. How do you spend your free time
Being with friends and family
11. How important is family to you
Number one priority
(In some cases second to God)

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