Monday, March 17, 2008

Jay-Z Moves Into Madison Avenue
Rapper, Club Owner, Fashion Designer, Icon and Now Adman

Posted by Mike Tunnicliffe in Ad Age Songs For Soap on 02.11.08

Jay-Z -- real name Shawn Carter -- is partnering with Interpublic Group to open Translation Advertising in New York, an agency that will help marketers reach multicultural consumers.

Jay-Z will be using using 'his eye, his taste, his understanding of the culture' at Translation Advertising.

The former head of Def Jam records is one of the most successful hip-hop entrepreneurs, who, as well as being a recording artist, owner of New Jersey Nets and creator of the Roc-A-Wear clothing line, has increasingly been called on as a marketer; he's partnered with Budweiser, Elizabeth Arden and others as a marketing and brand advisor.

The new agency will be part of Translation Consultation and Brand Imaging, the leading urban marketing and branding agency created by African-American entrepreneur Steve Stoute, which Interpublic (full disclosure: I used to work there) acquired last year for an estimated $10-15 million. Interpublic will own 49 percent of Translation Advertising, with 51% owned by Mr. Stoute, 37, and Jay-Z, 38, who will be the co-chairmen.

Jay-Z said in an interview in the New York Times that his role at Translation Advertising would be "to offer his creative and entrepreneurial ideas." Mr. Stoute described it as not "day-to-day operations," but rather "using his eye, his taste, his understanding of the culture."

This is undoubtedly an interesting move for Interpublic, as it enables them to further focus in on the growing African-American, Hispanic and Asian-American populations, which now account for an estimated $2 trillion in consumer buying power. But it's also an interesting move as it is yet another new business model coming to market in the world of artists and brand marketing.

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