Thursday, April 13, 2006

Brand Urbanization

It seems that there is a trend of urbanization of many brands in the U.S. Attribute it to "the legitimacy of Hip-Hop" if you want, but this shift is real.

It's important to note the distinction between brands that shifted toward urban and trends that shifted the brands toward urban. For example, KSwiss sold basically the same shoes to tennis players for years, but now these same shoes are a hip-hop fashion trend. The fad came to them, not the other way around. On the other hand, Pontiac shifted its marketing effort to appeal more exclusively to the urban market.

Pontiac was more of a Sunday drive car, but the brand now focuses on the urban market. In the past, the old Pontiac logo featured a Native American, which the brand was named for. These days, the brand’s commercials for the Solstice feature Ludacris. The urbanizing of the bran is also carried out through their new vehicle names. You can see this in Pontiac's Vibe, an attempt to convert the old surf-wagon into an urban pimp wagon.

Ludacris actually does own a Pontiac. It's a tricked-out
1975 Pontiac Grandville, not exactly on par with the Solstice he pimps in the commercial. The bottom line is that you don't exactly beleive Ludacris standing in front of a Solstice singing, "Two miles an hour, so everyone will see me." There's no way Ludacris drives a Solstice, he's worth millions of dollars and hip-hop moguls drive Bentley Phantoms, not Pontiac Solstices.

Ludacris did a song that became the theme song for an Austin Powers movie called,
"No. 1 Spot." With that in mind, Dr. Evil summarized Pontiac's attempt to urbanize when he said, "I'm hip. I'm down with today's youth. I can get jiggy with it."


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