Thursday, March 25, 2010

Wocka Flocka x Soulja Boy Tell'em x Roscoe Dash = "Skurban"

Posted by Kevin Walker

For some time, I have been chronicling the dynamic of reverse cultural appropriation as it relates to black urban culture, and west coast skater/suburban culture. There is mounting evidence that black urban culture is taking as many cues from white suburban culture, particularly the subgenres of skater and punk culture.

There is a word being thrown around, “skurban” which speaks to the merging of “skater” with “urban”. The imagery of Mohawks, skateboarding, punk rock, and slam dancing is different from the gun toting thug imagery of hip hop in the past, Soulja Boy Tell’em and Pharrell Williams have been a big reason why. Consider it a new young urban energy with Soulja Boy Tell’em and Pharrell Williams as the crowned princes of this movement.

Soulja Boy Tell’em is not a one hit wonder, rather he is a savvy pied piper of Black Southern teens much like Miley Cyrus is to young teen girls. Much can be said for his impact on digital hustle, his controversial influence on the sound of southern hip hop, and his emphasis on fun. Love him or hate him he has had a noticeable impact.

One other thing to note is that this young energy urban movement has sprung from Atlanta.

Reverse migration of African Americans to the

Southern states has resulted in the south as being the epicenter for Black urban culture, particularly in music. Atlanta is ground zero. Wocka Flocka Flame’s O Let’s Do It and Roscoe Dash’s All The Way Turnt Up are two of the hottest songs on pop and urban music stations and both artists are Atlanta based.

My favorite of the two is Wocka Flocka Flame’s O Let’s Do It. I love the punk rock energy displayed in the video and the catchy chorus. Hope you enjoy!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

The Youth Mashup Mindset-Marketers Should Take Notice

posted by Kevin Walker

Last week Chiqui Cartagena of Story Worldwide Marketing wrote a very nice piece in Advertising Age’s Big Tent about the ongoing lag between marketers’ cross cultural marketing efforts and the reality of changing demographics in the U.S.

The day her article was published I happened to watch MTV Hits channel and was struck by a couple of music videos that played. The videos were Three 6 Mafia with Tiesto, Flo Rida and Sean Kingston’s “Feel It”. This video has 8.2 million hits thus far

and Justin Bieber and Ludacris’ “Baby” with 28 million hits:

It occurred to me that some of these musical artists/hitmakers are savvier marketers than many of us who are MBA trained, and formally trained marketers. They have made a conscious decision to give the marketplace what it wants which is mashup approaches, the mixing and meshing of genres and to appeal across ethnic groups. Is there something to this? The proof is in the hits! This music blurs the lines but is ultimately appealing to the masses: is it Techno? Is it Pop? Is it Reggaeton? Is it Hip-Hop? So, if the lines of music are blurring, what are the implications for other sections of culture outside of music, particularly how it impacts consumer marketing.

I have been documenting this new crossover/mashup mindset that is emerging among both urban and suburban youth for quite sometime, check out these earlier posts: Crossover Dreams, and One Youth Nation Under A Groove. Now there is more evidence that this mashup/crosscultural aesthetic is mainstream and my question to marketers is how will you respond to be more relevant with the next generation of consumers?

To connect to Latino youth, do you think it is relevant to make Latino Heritage month celebrations cornerstones of your Hispanic youth outreach efforts? Based on research we have done, that may not be the most impactful way to go.

From what I have seen, the agency world is still practicing a rigid market segregation, and many of their Client’s marketing budgets reflect this. There is the General Market marketing budget, the Hispanic marketing budget, and sometimes, an African American and Asian marketing budget. The newly emerging “mashup mindset” that we are talking about poses an interesting challenge for marketers in the context of mashup mindsets.

As it relates to connecting to young people, perhaps there should be coherent youth strategies implemented, along with formally budgeting for these efforts. Also, because of the complexity of youth identity, the role of account planning and insights will dramatically increase in significance in crafting marketing strategies targeted to them.

The reality is that for many young people multiculturalism/crossculturalism is organic. If you are a young person who happens to live in Houston, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Orlando, New York, the Bay Area, I guarantee there is keen awareness of other cultures amongst young people and the influence of their associates and friends from other cultures on their tastes, resulting in this “mashup” cultural mindset.

Currently, the way the agency world is structured this organic point of view is stifled by the homogeneity of agency staffs and corporate marketing staffs. There is definitely room for innovation and new effort put toward addressing increasing diversity, and the psychocgraphic and demographic shifts occuring with the next generation of consumers. I know I am beating a dead horse but there is so much potential being untapped. I would like to challenge us to begin the work to convince our clients and fellow agency cohorts to put new approaches into play and to take steps to reflect back to the marketplace the organic way in which young people relate to each other and the brands they love.

Monday, March 1, 2010

Digital Engagement-Connecting with Gen Y

Part of our offering as a youth think tank/marketing consultancy is to study and harness the latest communication mediums to help our clients connect to their next gen constituents effectively. One of our most in demand offerings for Clients is what the industry has pegged as DIGITAL ENGAGEMENT. In terms of next generation marketing, digital engagement should now be considered an integral part of your marketing mix.

CultureLab views digital engagement as an ongoing manipulation of the virtual “toggle switch” between offline and online promotion/events + digital communications. Think of it simply as the leveraging of sales promotion, event engagement, social media content creation, and social media communication.

For the last 7 months our agency implemented and managed a digital engagement outreach initiative for EDS Credit Union (now InTouch Credit Union) called The Arrival Guide. Part of our strategy was to experiment with social media and to implement the process of digital engagement to build a stronger, more authentic connection to young adult members and potential members. Thus, we created as our home base for digital engagement. Along with microsite, we also created a Facebook page, and Twitter account all linked to

Digital Engagement has been a huge part of our successful Gen Y outreach and has resulted in growth of the ITCU membership base of almost 20% among 18-34 year olds. Our efforts have also helped garner a little notoriety for EDS Credit Union for being social media innovators in efforts to reach Gen Y. (Dallas Business Journal article)

Because of digital engagement, we have also been able to dramatically increase traffic to When our sweepstakes launched on February 1st 2010, traffic increased on the site by 900%

Here are a few notable results from our effort

• The number of members under 35 have increased by almost 20% since the launch of in August of 2009

• Google Analytics showed that after implementation of The Arrival Guide sweepstakes traffic to increased by over 900%

• Branch managers of the Credit Union also reported increased traffic in branches from younger members due to promotions


• Engagement has to be a two way interaction, one way (marketer to consumer) does not work for younger consumers

• Giving is marketing, you must consistently provide something of value to the consumer first before you can sell.

• The use of video embedded on the microsite helped with SEO and promoted viral embedding

• Twitter and Facebook were our most effective tools for broadcasting our promotions and broadcasting special offers

• Facebook and Flickr provide opportunities to reinforce the “fun” aspects of our marketing effort, younger consumers love sharing pictures.

• Content curation and continuous refreshing of content are key to maintaining interest in your social media properties-this is a time intensive process

• The use of social media alone should never substitute for an intergrated marketing effort-we used tv ads to help drive traffic to