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Pathways of Connectivity

By Laurence Boschetto, CEO and President, Draftfcb

Laurence Boschetto, Draftfcb CEO and President, Bill Werde, Billboard Editorial Director, and Nile Rodgers. (Photo courtesy of Jeffrey Ufberg).
It’s no secret that when music and advertising collide, there’s an instant connection with consumers. Stars like David Bowie, Eminem, Lady Gaga, Marvin Gaye, Wilco and Sting have effectively loaned their personal cache to brands for years.
At Draftfcb, we regularly use music to connect with consumers. In 2012, for Oreo, we featured Bryan Ferry singing “You Do Something to Me.” Indie band California Wives debuted its hit single “Purple” in our latest Sharpie effort. Creativity Magazine said the song Whispering Grass by the Ink Spots added to the charm and whimsy of our Dow commercial called “Train.”
Songs help marketers break through clutter and boost sales in the marketplace. Few know that better than Nile Rodgers, the music legend who has codified and crystalized so many artists’ personal brands.  I believe  Nile is a quintessential brand builder. He helps artists find their voice, navigate their reputation and makes sure it evolves. A pop-culture expert, he’s gifted at lifting artists to the top of their game and making them stand out among their cluttered, competitive set. He does so much more than simply write and produce music. He actually creates pathways of connectivity.
One of his greatest brand-building feats was rebranding Diana Ross.  He also cut to the core of what Madonna stood for and built a platform for her brand to resonate with diverse audiences. And he’s now doing it again with Adam Lambert.
Brands like Nike and Budweiser have also soared to great heights under Nile’s watch. His pairing of Bo Jackson with Bo Diddley in Nike’s Mr. Robinson’s Neighborhood spoke to a wide swath of consumers. 
The fact is that today’s most powerful music reflects the influence of multiple cultures, and Nile innately understands that.
In the U.S. 73 percent of the music on the Billboard Top 10 Hot 100 year end charts from 2007-2009 featured black or Hispanic artists. (Source: Billboard Hot 100 Top 10.  Categorization completed by Draftfcb Customer Intelligence.)
Look at the amazing success Madonna and a diverse group of performers enjoyed at the last Super Bowl. The typically solo artist shared the stage with artists including Nicki Minaj, M.I.A. and Cee Lo Green. The result: a cross-cultural mash-up that paid dividends for advertisers and viewers.
It seems like a no-brainer to include diverse stars and songs that cross cultures and generations in ads. With the shifts we are seeing in our country, using diverse talent is more important than ever.
The music industry has recognized these shifting demographics for years.
For the ad business to evolve successfully, it needs to follow the cues of Nile and the music industry when it comes to identifying, respecting and celebrating the rich tapestry of people that define the New America.