Archive for June, 2007


Nike’s Larry Miller Named President, Portland Trailblazers

Nike’s Larry Miller has become the new President of the Portland Trailblazers announced last week. Moving across town, in his new role he of course inherits a team with the #1 draft pick. Miller has been a highly respected “baskeball Don” running Brand Jordan as President and most recently becoming VP and GM of Nike Basketball. The question now is who will takeover the position now that Miller has left Beaverton. Lynn Merritt’s name is surfacing as a possibility in some circles.

For audio from the press release click here


Chris Lighty Forms Marketing Company w/ WMG

Chris Lighty has formed a venture with WMG, called Brand Asset Group designed to help take advantage of opportunities and according to the press release…..

“by more aggressively managing artist brands from all genres and capitalize on the value of those brands through corporate sponsorships, strategic and integrated marketing campaigns and comprehensive brand extensions”

Makes sense right? Warner has now positioned itself as a “content development” company and who better to bring in then the manager responsible for all of 50 Cent’s recent corporate success and who has been in the longer then “Baby Chris.”

Keyword would be on “strategic and integrated.” In my opinion the future of a company like Brand Asset Group hinge on some key factors. (Chris, Kevin Liles and James Cruz you can pay me later for this one).

  1. You Are Helping Brands Sell boxes of “widgets” not offsetting video costs
  2. Full disclosure of what the artist represents and stands for; translate the real language for corporates they have no idea what these guys are talking about
  3. PROFESSIONALISM (hate that I had to list this but it’s true; to include showing up on time for meetings, having representation that can do all the “levels”, fully of aware of the brand goals and vision
  4. Don’t abuse the corporate guy in the room with the “star-struck” eyes; They are not in your world and fascinated by the business and a life they only read about.
  5. DELIVER: Unfortunately the business planning cycle for a corporation doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room. The knock on music partnerships is that it is tough to get a committed date to lock into. Don’t overpromise, it will bite you in the butt. (See Kelly Rowland/Carson deal for more info)
  6. TECHNOLOGY: Either you see the opportunity or you don’t. I have to charge you for more advice on this one.

Great opportunity for WMG and Lighty. Best thing going for them is that they have Camille Hackney at WMG who I assume will be somewhere around this venture when she returns from maternity leave. Highly talented and smart Hackney is a rare breed that has been in the business for a long time and really “gets it.”

It will either work really well and be the model for all others to follow or fail miserably. Tough, but unfortunately the position those in the vanguard position find themselves.

Wish them well.


Sprite Yard Launches…..Did You Get Your newsletter today?

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Sprite Mobile Project Launches…..My secret is out!

Now I can let my “secret project” out of the
bag and hopefully you will now understand
why it has taken us so
long to publish a newsletter. The project I
have been working on for the past several
months, Sprite Yard was
announced last week
Marketing Forum in New York and will
officially launch in the US sometime this
month. The Sprite Yard
will allow teen consumers to connect with
each other by offering a host of functions
via mobile. Sprite Yard will launch in
several markets around the world, with China
already up and running. What’s really
promising are the
“nuggets” of freebies given away via pin
codes under Sprite bottles. Given the number
of Sprite bottles worldwide, this opens up a
host of opportunities to create some
innovative content. It’s been amazing project
to be a part of and I must acknowledge that I
work with some of the smartest people around
the world in mobile and digital.

Sprite is placing a big bet on the mobile
device as the “killer app” to reach the often
“hard to reach” teen consumer. By bringing
social networking tools to the mobile space
and combining that experience with value
added benefits by drinking Sprite, the brand
is taking a new approach to talking to
consumers. After launch, there were a host of
bloggers and media who had a “field day” with
Sprite’s attempt Before rushing to hang the
project it is important to recognize the new
“paradigm in marketing” the brand is
attempting to create. It’s easy to write this
move as another big brand tossing around
money to reach kids.

Sure at quick glance, “Sprite Yard” could be
misconstrued for just another attempt at a
brand to jump on the current sexy word of the
moment: Social Networking. Actually the
bigger opportunity is really around branded
entertainment and content distribution and
new ways in which Sprite can connect with
teens as both consumers and “pro-sumers.”
With video, music, and even print producers
challenged to find new ways to reach
consumers and monetize the experience, it is
brands like Coca Cola that present the new
opportunities in global distribution and

Am I biased about this Sprite thing?
Absolutely I am. What I am clear on is that the
relationship between content, brands and
consumers will and must change. The mobile
space is an exciting space to be a part of.
Given the global numbers on cellphone usage
by teens any brand not taking risks like
Sprite are in trouble. (Have you seen the BBC
special on Mobile in Africa The
question is Mrs. Brand Steward or Mr. Sideline
Commentator, are you going to use your
“influence” to be a part of
the solution, or continue to talk about the

Name Dropper

Melissa Johnson (Velvet Suite Marketing,

Coriya Burns (Radio One, Atlanta)

Caralene Robinson (Boost Mobile, Irvine)

Anthony Phillips (Coca Cola Company,

Jason Harris (Mekanism, San Francisco)

Brandon Cheung (Isobar, San Francisco)

Melvin Lenzy (Nike, Portland)

Johnny Colt (, Atlanta)

Mark Ghunheim (Mediaeater, NYC)

Judy Mauldin (Hip Hop 4 Humanity,

Dee Dee Cocheta (ABC Publicity, Atlanta)

Darren “Mats” Matsabura (EBO
Basketball/Adidas, Las Vegas)

Jennifer Smith (Sun Trust Entertainment
Banking, Atlanta)

Dan Callendine (Isobar, London)

Shelley DeVilliers (Sprite, Atlanta)

Paul Stewart (Next Thing, Los Angeles)

Josh Levine (Rebel Industries, Los

Mike Caren (Atlantic Records, Los

Matt O’Neil (Tobi Productions,Los

Nadir Contractor (SonyBMG, London)


We’re Twitter’ed Are You Going To Follow?

Yes I know we are a little late for all you “extra fresh” techies, but we have finally embraced this twitter thing full time. If you don’t know what Twitter is, google and do some research. If you want to be a part of our followers and stay up to date with what is going on go ahead and add us to your list.


Sprite Mobile Program Announced…..Now I Can Talk

For those of you who have been reading our blog/newsletter 2 months ago I told you that I joined Isobar, as Global Client Director. What I didn’t mention is what I was working on. Today a moment of relief has come over me. I can now talk about the “top secret” project I have been working on with our client Sprite.

Today at the MMA Conference in NYC, Sprite unveiled “The Yard”, a WAP based mobile community, we are developing. Aimed at teens, this revolutionary new communications approach is a giant step for the Coca Cola company in how they engage the teen consumer. We will be launching the yard in several different countries over the next year.



Tru Pettigrew and his Alloy multicultural division have launched a study on the “urban hustler.” While some are jumping up and down, finally feeling like they have an identity, I’m numb. On one hand, we are starving for some great research that truly identifies the much talked about “urban mindset.” On the other hand, I’m not sure I want my son to be called an “urban hustler.” I think I would be happy with just hustler, maybe it’s just the word, “urban” that I’m unsettled with. Additionally, I’m not sure that it’s all that exciting that Bill Gates out-indexes Puffy in the research. He’s the richest man in the world and you are doing a study with kids who are “over-consumers.”

Please chime in I am open to being led to the light on this one. Right now I feel like the 60% of AA consumers that make up this demo put way too much emphasis on over-consumption of material goods. I don’t see Bill Gates buying $1000 rare, limited edition AF1’s. Shouldn’t we be emphasizing investment in assets that last, not buying more goods from brands who could really care less about “urban hustle.”

Don’t’ get me wrong, I have been able to achieve amazing things with my drive, passion and “hustle.” But the image of a “hustler” is not a positive one. In fact I have been in plenty of brand meetings where “characters” with ambiguous businesses are described as “hustlers. We build these “rugrats” up and then they come and intern for us thinking they are going to get a job after 8 weeks making $75K (not my intern of course!).

Hope my boy Ali Muhammad and his new mag 21st Century Hustle don’t take us off the holiday card list!


All Things D

Had a chance to watch a little of the Steve Jobs/Bill Gates session this week at the D conference in Carlsbad, CA. Very awkward moment it appeared for both of them to be together on stage. Clearly they have known each other for awhile but I think they came off extra nervous.

D Conference is an executive gathering hosted by WSJ and hosted by Kara Swisher and Walter Mossberg who are journalists that really take an approach of cultivating honest dialogue from some pretty heavy hitters. It feels very much like TED

They have an RSS Feed of some video moments, done very well.



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