HOW GRIME CULTURE IS SMASHING IT FOR BRANDS 2017
November 1, 2017 - 4 minutes read
With influencer marketing on the rise, a new culture of power players is emerging from the grime scene. Brands have finally started to realise the power behind the cultural shift the grime scene has had across the country. There’s an education taking place; for those not in and around the culture, it’s easy to confuse “grime” as a music genre that is being popularised by a handful of artists when, in fact, it’s grown beyond into a subculture that is taking over the UK in every medium.
The growth of grime has inevitably been matched with its commercial growth both on and off stage. Slowly, over the past five years we’ve seen brands dip their toe in working with various artists, but now it’s really taking off. The brand and grime runway is adopted mainly by fashion brands but cultural relevance across drinks and alcohol are next to cash in on the trend. What grime does is bring a cultural platform in which brands can communicate with this audience, who now represent a large part of the young demographic in the UK completely influenced culturally in their political views, fashion sense and attitudes.
Here are some examples of brands cashing in on grime’s reach…
1. SKEPTA & UNIQLO
Perhaps a seemingly unexpected partnership between the grime emcee and Japanese fast-fashion brand UNIQLO, Skepta has brilliantly married his passion for tracksuit culture with a brand that fits perfectly. Some may question the fit of these two brands, but underneath is a very clever and complementary alignment, especially when considering that his Japanese titled album #Konnichiwa is taking the UK by storm, charting at Number 1 on the iTunes Charts.
2. MATTESSONS ‘THE SNACKARCHIST’ FEAT. LETHAL B – DUDE
More than just a clever sync. Mattessons harnessed the anarchist nature that grime culture has transcended across the UK, “Had enough of being told what you can and can’t snack on? Ready to stick it to the man?” Then apparently Mattessons range of Fridge Raiders and Savages snacks could be just what you’re looking for. They pulled in Lethal Bizzle Ft. Stormzy’s “Dude” to deliver the bedding music for the advert. Further, the rebellious approach to life the advert’s protagonist had is an exaggerated metaphor embodying the non-conforming cultural heritage of grime.
3. RELENTLESS X GHETTS X RUDE KID
Relentless joined forces with veteran grime artist Ghetts and producer Rude Kid to deliver a three-part music video in the space of five days. The title #SixFiveThree saw the musical pair produce, write and record a six-track EP, film three music videos all in a working week.
4. KFC X CHIP
As part of their, ‘Pack More Into Lunch’ campaign, KFC worked with rapper Chip to create and edit a music video; all under an hour. An ethos they were pushing at the time (clever that). Chip’s single also featured grime legend Kano and Wretch 32, which again increased the campaign’s credibility/relevance and exposure.
5. PUMA X WILEY
This is a clever one and shows how subtle product placement can make all the difference. The very simple video sees Wiley in various London locations wearing the then new Puma Evo range.
6. AG BARR X RATED AWARDS
In 2015, along with KA and GRM Daily, we co-founded the KA and GRM Daily Rated Awards. The awards was a triumph, delivering over 26,000 live streams, #1 trending topic on Twitter and a host of national coverage. Total the campaign garnered an impressive 11.8 million impressions allowing grime music to take centre stage in UK popular culture. This innovative approach truly embeds KA in UK Urban culture for the long term by creating real benefit for fans, artists and the brand alike.
7. MERCEDES X KANO: YOU DRIVE
This is not your typical brand partnership but Kano isn’t your typical grime artist. Along with Wiley, Kano is known as being a leader in the sound and still one of the best. Unlike the other partnerships which are based around sports/fashion brands, Kano went for the more luxury spot with a series of collabs with Mercedes. His evolution into television most definitely helped seal this as his role in “Top Boy” pushed him to new heights.
8. ADIDAS X STORMZY
Adidas has won big with Stormzy. His meteoric rise to the top of the grime charts, and subsequently the top of the mainstream charts over the last four years has seen Adidas’ long standing approach to working with grime artists really pay off. By supporting Stormzy and kitting him out since his early days bubbling on the scene, they earned over 27 million impressions for the brand through his music videos alone. The shift in culture and a reinvigorated love for Adidas has certainly been down to his grassroots approach, with Stormzy being the key figurehead. They’ve since gone on to work with him on heavily promoting his debut album release #GSAP, supporting with popup gigs and an exclusive Stormzy gig.
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