Singers, especially rappers, have become some of our most influential cultural figures. But it's not just their artistry that has made them powerful - rappers have also become highly sought-after brand endorsers and sponsors. From energy drinks to luxury cars, rappers have lent their names and images to various products and services.
While some deals seem like a natural fit, others have raised eyebrows for their unexpectedness. Let's look at some of the most surprising endorsements and sponsorships and examine what makes these partnerships work (or not).
Drake is one of the most iconic and rich rappers in the music industry. His career was filled with numerous partnerships and stories. From beverages to Apple, aeroplanes and more. However, some stuck out.
The first endorsement that took his fans off guard was the creation of Virginia Black. In 2016, Drake launched his whiskey brand under Brent Hocking's umbrella. The partnership had been a significant success, with Virginia Black quickly becoming one of the fastest-growing whiskey brands in the United States. Drake has been heavily involved in promoting the brand and has even rapped about it in his music, further boosting its visibility.
In March 2022, one of his latest collaborations with Stake, a betting and gambling crypto platform, dropped. He always loved gambling and losing at the casino, but this is a new "inevitable" opportunity, as he described in his Instagram post.
Considering the large amounts he bets on a single hand, as seen in his social stories and streaming VoDs, Drake can easily enter the top of high roller gamblers, among other names.
Some of his fans find it hard to believe because Drake declared years ago how he lost over $200,000 in one night at the casino. But others understand that this is precisely his mindset and follow their favourite's artist lead.
In 2018, Cardi B signed a multi-million dollar deal with Pepsi to be the face of the brand's "More Than OK" campaign. Cardi B's money received for the deal is not public knowledge, but it is believed to be $5-10 million.
The campaign was highly visible, featuring Cardi B alongside actor Steve Carell and rapper Lil Jon in a humorous commercial that aired during the Super Bowl. The deal was reportedly for one year, but fans hoped for more than that.
Another iconic long-standing deal Cardi B has is with Fashion Nova. Many say this deal is longer than her rapping career, and fans do not dispute that statement. In 2018, Cardi B released a limited-edition clothing line in collaboration with Fashion Nova, which reportedly sold out within hours of its release.
G-Dragon is one of the most famous Korean rappers. Since his debut last decade, he constantly caught the attention of important jewellery, clothing and beauty products companies.
He still has a long-standing partnership with the French luxury brand Chanel, serving as a brand ambassador and collaborating with the brand on several projects. In 2018, he became the first Korean artist to work together with Chanel on a makeup line called "Chanel x G-Dragon." The line featured a range of products that G-Dragon designed, including lipstick, eye shadow, and nail polish. He wears the brand every time he is in public, and his fans believe this deal won't close soon.
G-Dragon is also among the first Koreans to sign contracts with Nike and help the brand enter the South Korean market.
Lisa from Blackpink is the woman version of G-Dragon. She has international collaborations with Megan Thee Stallion, Dj Snake and others. Multiple multi-billion dollar businesses came to secure a deal with her. Some of the best-known and appreciated contracts by her fans are with MAC Cosmetics and Bvlgari.
In June 2021, Lisa became the first South Korean female rapper in the position of being the face of MAC. As part of the deal, she has launched her limited-edition makeup collection, featuring a range of powders, lipsticks, and other beauty products. The contract still stands, but the fans bought the entire collection stock in less than a month.
Lisa is a global ambassador for the Italian luxury jewellery brand Bvlgari since 2020. Lisa has appeared in several promotional videos and photoshoots for the brand, showcasing their latest collections. She constantly wears the brands she promotes, and fans adore her loyalty.
Partnerships are one of the most profitable marketing strategies out there because, if done right, they can benefit both the company and the artist who agrees to promote them. Although usually expensive, these paid partnerships can give an incredible boost, especially for new online businesses searching for loyal clients. The artists can bring new customers and even change the direction of the product they promote or even buy that company's stocks.
Advertising for what they believe in or like comes naturally for artists. Moreover, they enjoy being the face of well-established brands and getting more attention from various genres of people.
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