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#sowhoknew: Rapping with Snoop Dogg – CES Day 3

It’s not often you meet a cultural icon but today I had the privilege of meeting the one and only Snoop Dogg. Rapper, singer, songwriter, actor, entrepreneur and self confessed tech geek he charmed an audience of over 300 people at the OMG ‘Morning of Innovation’ on CES Day 3.

He was joined on stage by Frank Cooper from Pepsico and Andre Harrell from Revolt to provide an intriguingly blended perspective from three different points on the spectrum – brand, talent and technology.

They spoke collectively about the critical confluence of all three disciplines and how they must work organically to create even stronger collaborations. For example, Frank outlined how Beyonce has been a vital part of the Pepsico story in the three deals she has done with the company. He also extolled the virtues of how these brand partnerships can harness the power of an artist’s creative direction to influence not just the content being produced but also glean valuable insight into other areas such as packaging etc.

Mr Dogg echoed that sentiment by adding that brands truly need to understand the artist’s music, get as involved and as close as possible with the artist’s work to ensure that they maximise the effectiveness of the relationship. Basically, they should only work with a particular talent if they want “meaningful input”.

Snoop also talked about how his contemporaries such as Dr Dre and Jimmy Iovine had established their reputation as “owners not players” by developing the Beats brand. He went on to add that when Apple bought them for USD 3 billion last year what they actually bought was (and he spelled it out for dramatic effect) “C.O.O.L”. The moderator (Scott Hagedorn from Annalect) added that “technology adds a bit of swagger to everyone’s game”.

Authenticity was also a key theme of the dialogue and according to all three of them that means surrounding yourself with a team of people you can trust implicitly. Andre from Revolt added that this was the reason why Snoop Dogg has thrived and survived in the hip hop industry for over 18 years. He said, “Some stars put themselves on a pedestal and look down on others… Snoop also gets up on that pedestal but he pulls other people up with him”.

Steve Blakeman with Snoop Dogg

Steve Blakeman with Snoop Dogg

We were also treated to an exclusive pre-recorded video from Pharrell who has just produced Snoop Dogg’s latest album ‘Bush’ which is out in March this year. In his own words, he said, “It’s better than my album!” We got an exclusive play of the first single off the album, “Peaches & Cream” which is out in a few weeks and has all the hallmarks of both artists. And boy does it sound good. Shanizzilator (I think).

I also got to meet the man himself backstage in the Green Room. What an excellent host and so very charming (and I can freely admit, I was a little starstruck). Well, it’s going to be difficult to top that isn’t it? But I am at least going to try. Tomorrow, there will be news on Ashton Kutcher’s appearance at the Ignition Factory gig at CES and also his big news in the start-up space (and hopefully another gratuitous selfie!).

Steve Blakeman

Steve Blakeman is the Global Media Lead - Nestlé at Mindshare. Previously, he was the Managing Director - Global Accounts, OMD Europe. Previously, he was the CEO, Asia Pacific – OMD. Prior to that, he was Global Chief Integration Strategy Officer (Asia Pacific) for IPG Mediabrands (Initiative & Universal McCann). He has also had stints as worked as Managing Partner at Omnicom Media Group owned media agency, PHD where he successfully launched their second office in the UK. He began his career at JWT and has over two decades of experience in advertising, media and marketing communications.
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