QUEENS, New York — On Monday, actor, entrepreneur, hip-hop legend and CEO and Founder of Rock The Bells , LL Cool J, served as a guest speaker at Advertising Week 2020, virtual online event. The native of Queens, New York was interviewed by Bozoma Saint John, CMO of Netflix, for an in depth conversation about How Brands and Advertisers Can Authentically Connect With the Arbiters of Culture — The Hip Hop and Black Community.
During the panel, they discussed hip hop and its relationship to mainstream culture, importance of authenticity, and why the Gen X audience is clutch for marketers.
“Hip hop comes from the street – It’s from the mud,” said LL Cool J. “You know, I think, when you have your ear to the ground, it has a lot to do with how you connect with the world, how you connect with the people. Being in the industry and never really getting too, too far removed, is, I think, just really important because, you know, the voices of the culture, you know, and a lot of those ramblings, a lot of those start in the street and we care about the whole street.”
LL and Bozoma Saint John also touched on how it’s important to stay connected to the streets, and hence connected to the community. Emphasizing the general tendency for marketers to focus on millennials, LL Cool J shared how his brand, Rock The Bells, is concentrating its efforts on Gen X, as this is often the forgotten middle child that should not be ignored. By focusing on Gen X, LL has found that his brand has been popular amongst Gen Z, since they’ve been raised by Gen X and therefore the influence carries down. Bozoma Saint John agreed with LL, sharing that it’s not only the right thing to do, but also that with $2.4 trillion of spending power, it is an intelligent business move for marketers to target Gen X’ers.
Lastly, LL talked about the importance of why he began Rock The Bells, sharing that unless hip hop artists are on the top of the billboard charts or coming out with new hit singles, they are often forgotten about. “I felt like the artists were being marginalized and forgotten about, and I wanted to uplift and preserve the legacy of hip hop culture, and I’m doing that through this multimedia platform, Rockthebells.com, “said LL Cool J. As a result, he began the brand so hip-hop legends can be treated with the love, reverence, and respect they deserve.
Photo and Video Courtesy of Advertising Week