Archive for October, 2007

28
Oct
07

NAS ALBUM TITLE REACHES THE POLITICAL ARENA

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The debate over Nas’s forthcoming album and its controversial album title have now hit the political and state level. A politician in New York is urging the state Comptroller to withdraw $84 Million in state pension investments towards Universal Music. Hakeem Jefferies, a former assistant general counsel at CBS and lawyer at Viacom before being elected (D-Fort Greene/Brooklyn) as assemblyman is leading the charge against Nas. “[They are] profiting from a racial slur that has been used to
dehumanize people of color for centuries,” said Assemblyman Jeffries A recent report revealed that the New York State Pension Fund has $2.8 billion invested in 16 major entertainment companies.

(Source)

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27
Oct
07

What’s Killing Your VIBE Magazine?

Beth Gilles (Sportswear Director at Vibe Magazine) and Dana Hill

If you didn’t think the departure of Len Burnett spells I-T-S A-W-R-A-P for Vibe Magazine check out these other departures.

  • Melissa Scragg may not be a household name in the world of marketing or urban content but she is a highly valuable piece in the Vibe Magazine stable. On the same day of Len Burnett’s announcement, Scragg, the Vibe Magazine Production Director, announced she was accepting another offer sending Vibe management into convulsions. Was her reason for leaving another offer or did she see the writing on the wall?

  • By far the announcement that should have been message to the masses came weeks before Len Burnett’s announcement when Fashion Ad “GURU” (‘m not over-using those words either) Beth Gillies (Pictured, Left) decided to resign and move back to her homestate of Minnesota. Gilles and her relationships were a cornerstone revenue stream for the magazine and she has been there through all of the regimes (Clinkscales, Gibbs, et al). With her gone, the staff has been reduced to a very green (but we hear talented) staff of ad sales people in a really jacked up ad sales climate.

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The story on Len Burnett’s exit is one we have heard before. Here is a guy that helped to launch Vibe Magazine when he and his frat brother Keith Clinkscales were called by Bob Miller and Quincy Jones to run it in the mid 90’s. As Clinkscales trusty sidekick, Burnett created a stellar reputation in the industry as a well-liked and honest part of the team of Vibe “characters.” After several years building that magazine into national prominence, Burnett and Clinkscales jumped the Vibe party train to launch Vanguarde Media during the Silicon Alley boom and were successful in acquiring many different media assets. Unfortunately, the market was “loopy” but the idea was right. Burnett again was a major part of the success and a great balancing act to the “brand” Keith Clinkscales. After Vanguarde imploded, “Lenny” went on to create Uptown Magazine with partner Brett Wright (Nu America Marketing) and as a fellow Harlem-ite, really had a great vision for the property. In addition to the visual and content offering being innovative, this also was a venture done without Clinkscales and allowed Burnett’s own brand to blossom. A couple of years into building Uptown, Len decided to go back to Vibe and join then President Kenard Gibbs as Group Publisher.

Things got exciting for Burnett in his first year back at Vibe. He became part of a new team formed by Gibbs (Kenard Gibbs, Peter Griffith, Bob Miller) that made a power move to purchase Vibe from their then ownership, Freeman Spogli. Though they put together a valiant effort and clearly had met the selling price, the sellers decided to go with The Wicks Group led by Eric Gertler (nephew of Mort Zuckerman) and Ari Horowitz. That my friends is when the spiral began. First they let Gibbs leave Vibe Magazine and then The Wicks Group put “nephew” and his “buddy” Ari in to run the magazine. Burnett who had been used to playing the strong, “backbone” role stayed on and helped them in the Publisher capacity. After the board found Ari and Eric inept which led to their mutual “resignation”, instead of naturally hiring the clearly capable Len Burnett, the Wicks Group board went with a new CEO named Steve Aaron, basically a “non-player” in the urban space.

A saga like no other but a true reflection of the state of urban media which has taken an interesting twist in the last 18 months.
By default, Giant Magazine, and their new ownership at Radio One, is looking more and more legit as a contender to own the urban space (and whatever that means today!) One would only imagine that Giant would be pulling their money together to make an offer to Vibe EIC, Danyel Smith, who also a returnee and original EIC at Vibe finds herself in an interesting position…….enjoy the ride.

27
Oct
07

NEWS FLASH: Darryl Cobbin To Exit Boost Mobile and Join Fox Films

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Darryl Cobbin, CMO of Boost Mobile will be stepping down from his post at Boost Mobile and join Fox Films as their head of marketing according to a undisclosed source. Look for a formal announcement from Boost Mobile next week but the former Coca Cola Entertainment Marketing and Boost CMO “agent of change” will take his show to Hollywood.

26
Oct
07

The Bathing Ape Formerly Known As Nigo

nigo

Is the Bathing Ape empire falling?
Not just the underground, niche brand, BAPE is today a $59 Million dollar company
and the ever so elusive Nigo is pulling his hair out over the quick success.
Once a product for the ultra-cool/elite, now the knock-off market has made Bathing Ape mainstream. Nigo built the BAPE brand on tightly controlled product flow and non-traditional retail which is not out the window!

Check out the Portfolio Magazine piece on Nigo’s Fall and Rise.
I wonder what my boys over at satchelofgravel.com have to say about this.

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25
Oct
07

They Are Fighting Just To Put Money In Facebook’s Pocket

If you are Kevin Colleran, Dave Morin and Mark Zuckerberg and the boys on University Ave. in Palo Alto, you must be flexing a bit
right now! This just in from Forbes, there are two hedge funds looking to each put in $250M for the same cut of the pizza Microsoft got.
Nice one!

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25
Oct
07

Diddy As Brand Manager For Ciroc? Why not!

Sean “Puffy” Combs

Everyone else is doing it why not Puffy.
Yesterday, Diageo announced a new partnership with Diddy/Puffy/Sean
and their vodka Ciroc. He will play some sort of “Brand Director” role with the brand and has an interest.
I have full confidence that he will deliver for Diageo and expect to see it integrated in the entire Puffy/Bad Boy brand portfolio.
I assume that Puffy will be doing the marketing with some sort of team he is currently running with. At one time one of his holdings was Blue Flame Marketing but last I heard he had disbanded and Jameel Spencer, Guy Primus and crew are elsewhere. With the emergence of the “Steve Stoute” approach to corporate branded entertainment, more and more brands are seeing these sort of partnerships as valuable. This also means more and more wide-eyed A&R people at labels thinking about leaving and reading up on what ROI and Brand Equity means.

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25
Oct
07

I WANT SANDY.COM: The Best Assistant I Never Met In Person

Your very own personal assistant, I Want Sandy

I was invited to become a beta tester for I Want Sandy and I must say I have already been feeling the benefits. Essentially I Want Sandy keeps you organized by turning emails to yourself into todos, calendar reminders and address book updates. It works by sending an email and ccing “Sandy” who is looking for keywords like REMIND and REMEMBER and moves accordingly. The creators of this awesome little gadget are Values of N who created my other favorite GTD app, Stikkit. Right now I Want Sandy is in beta, but you may visit the site to request an invite.




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