Culture Marketing – Culture brands have become the new marketing of choice. In the past, advertising and marketing in the arts was done by big corporations to sell products. Now more than ever, consumers are drawn to products because they are associated with something that resonates culturally with them. Mass culture is being turned into niche culture, but it’s being done on an international scale and at unprecedented levels of involvement from both artist and fan alike.
In this post we’ll be exploring 7 examples of culture brands
Kaws is one of the most popular names in contemporary art toys, often being closely associated with the designer toy movement, but his brand goes far beyond that to encapsulate a popular lifestyle and cultural revolution. Kaws’ products are often sold out immediately and can sometimes only be found on auction sites such as eBay or through secondary market collectibles dealers such as Kidrobot. This rarity not only creates a higher perceived value, it also makes it more desirable and feeds into the hype surrounding it in the toy collecting community.
Every year Nike releases a limited edition of their famous Air Jordan sneakers. The shoes are designed to pay homage to a major event in the singer’s life. In 2013, the singer, who is named Michael Jackson, released his album ‘Xscape’. In commemoration of that album release – and similar to Kaws’ brand identity – Nike released the Air Jordan XI shoes themed after his song ‘Xscape’. This became an instant hit amongst collectors and boosted sales for the platform.
3. Fake Gucci:
Fake Gucci began as a website selling fake designer bags in 2008. Over time, the brand earned a cult following of fans who not only enjoyed their knock-offs, but enjoyed the marketing tactics behind it. The brand has been running a series of photography projects over the past couple years that supporters of the brand can submit work for. The brand’s name is also stamped on high quality products made by other brands and sold as limited editions on their website.
4. Pestle Rock:
Pestle Rock is a young independent record label run by Seth Bogart. Bogart started his career in music at an early age, eventually going on to manage the band Animal Collective until 2007 when he felt he was ready to start his own project. Animal Collective is known for their experimental and avant-garde style. So to go against the grain, Pestle Rock was created with a focus on traditional songwriting. The albums are not only produced by some of the most respected producers in music, but also released on vinyl at a time when most major labels have stopped producing vinyl.
5. Naked & Famous:
Naked & Famous denim is designed in Canada and manufactured overseas where labour costs are much cheaper. But instead of advertising this fact, they decided to embrace it by offering free shipping and discount codes which they promoted through social media outlets such as Twitter and Facebook. They also offered free repairs if anything went wrong with the denim fabric as well as a lifetime warranty. These tactics made it easier for the brand to be accessible for their fans, as well as for their fans to easily purchase the product without having to go through a third party.
Kanye West’s latest album ‘Yeezus’ is a departure from his previous work. It was heavily inspired by fashion designer A$AP Rocky and also pays tribute to West’s stage name which in Japanese means “Jesus” – instead of expanding on that concept, Kanye opted instead to build his album around the idea of disguising Jesus’ image and spreading it through popular culture. The song ‘I Am a God’ is credited with being the single most popular song on the album. It features an extremely distorted sound and features an abundance of samples and reuses of other tracks – this was done so that it would be hard to identify as a cover or sample.
7. Brooklyn Boyz:
Brooklyn Boyz is a clothing company based out of Brooklyn, New York that seeks to combine streetwear, hip-hop fashion, and art into their clothing designs. The brand has been active in the streetwear scene for many years, but has recently started placing more emphasis on their clothing designs which sell for much higher than their pre-fixed prices. Brooklyn Boyz has also been active in the world of fashion photography and photo-shoot production. They have designed photo shoots that include models wearing their clothing. The pictures are later sold on their website.
These are just a few examples of brands and marketers who have taken the concept of cultural marketing a step further. In this post I used Kaws, Yeezus and Brooklyn Boyz as examples due to their significant impact on fashion, art, music and fashion retailing. This is by no means an exhaustive list of culture brands.