Pac and Dre said it best: “California…knows how to party.”
I think I proved it this past week. Coming off an awesome shoot with Foot Locker for their Week of Greatness campaign (sneaker commercial of the year!) and a weekend exploring ComplexCon (the Super Bowl of culture), I’ve been on the West Coast playing hard and working harder. Needless to say, Long Beach is jumpin’.
It’s fascinating to see the Internet come to life. ComplexCon remains thee place for the intersection of culture marketing and commerce. It felt like some of the key themes this year were the juxtaposition of nostalgia with the future. Everything either had a fashion-forward vibe or a retro element. From Def Jam 35 to Timex, Deathrow merch to the Budweiser Wasssssup booth, everywhere I turned I could feel my past wrapped in the future. The only thing missing, in my opinion, are luxury brands. A Gucci drop at ComplexCon would go gangbusters!
The “NEXT Fronts” showed how Complex is a force to contend with on the original content side. They have a whole new slate of shows, documentaries, and podcasts and they’re doubling down on their massive hit, Hot Ones. Such a great sub-brand.
On Sunday, I stopped into the Forum to see Kanye’s latest show, Sunday Service. It was like no other concert I’ve been too; an uplifting afternoon matinée that was a complete religious experience. The choir was beautiful. The set list slaps. It’s always a treat to see a Kanye reinvent himself. I’ve seen every one of his tours to date, starting with College Dropout. Never stop, ‘Ye!
Now I’m in Palm Spring at Brandweek, a first-class gathering of top-tier brand marketers. It was awesome to mix and mingle with the folks behind AirBnB Experiences and the Popeyes Chicken Sandwich explosion. I still haven’t had one but now I know how they bodied it this summer, lol.
I’m asking a lot of questions and taking a lot of notes. Key takeaways? The importance of Twitter and how it can help brands tap into cultural relevance. I find the success in leveraging online communities with purpose much more interesting than the TikTok craze that everyone is trying to get a piece of.
I made my mark as well, of course, running a Monday morning symposium on fine-tuning your marketing strategy with music. And I published a piece highlighting the top arbitrage opportunity for advertisers right now: music!
The Brandweek finale is tonight with the cover star and multi-hyphenated mogul, Swizz Beats, doing a keynote and DJing the closing soirée. Then bang, I’m back in NY for an evening and off to Buffalo for a big college show with the chart-blazers, DaBaby and Gunna. College kids have always been the music fans that know what’s next.