PT1: The Growth Of Urban Culture Brand Endorsements: @Rikyrickworld x @VaselineZA


When brands give rappers in South African urban culture endorsement deals I always feel like jumping for joy and releasing a big “ITS ABOUT TIME” statement. But because I am a well composed fella I end up expressing my joy here.

Urban Culture in South Africa is hot property for brands right now. We have never seen so many brand endorsements in urban culture in South Africa. Never has there been a time where global brands have shown so much love to urban culture. There are so many reasons to answer the above but I wouldn’t want to bore you with a long wounded write up when you could be tweeting and entering DM’s or simply Facebooking.

Okay. I may as well give you a reason. It goes like this. “We aint going nowhere. We can’t be stopped now. Because it’s bad boy for life”. Minus the bad boy for life part and the answer you looking for is we are here and we are going nowhere.

Urban culture in South Africa is so hot it aint even funny. Brands can no longer ignore the impact urban culture in South Africa has on the hearts, wallets and minds of youth in South Africa.

I hazard a guess that brands started taking note when the money made sense. They saw how rappers were able to influence the consumer without spending to much on marketing or advertising. I actually can’t believe I just said that. No marketing or advertising is how urban culture manages to flip the script, bag the deals and leave us all asking what must happen next? When we think we have reached levels the bar and the bar the bar getting raised up.

So we are now two months away from June aka the half way mark and I have this thing about measuring where we come from and where we are going in culture. I love doing it because it keeps you focused. Looking at the recent deals in urban culture in South Africa I could not stop myself from having my own three cents and chopping up what these deals mean or an interesting thought that you could take with you when standing around a braai and you want to seem smart or in the know.

However one endorsement deal caught my eye. I was not expecting a Vaseline brand to partner with a local rapper.Not a chance. But it shouldn’t be surprising.

A few years ago, one would never have ever considered the association between a rapper and a vaseline brand possible. But times have changed! This recent announcement is testament of the growth in appeal and approval from brands that SA urban culture is a significant force in driving mainstream success.

What makes the association particular believable is how Riky Rick has unapologetically positioned himself as the king of ghetto fabolousity and living lavish. Personal grooming is a big part of that of being just that. And why not associate yourself to the biggest personal care brand within the township space; Vaseline. Vaseline understood that personal grooming is the beginning to achieving your aspirations. So why don’t you let them and Riky Riky help you #StartStrong.

I must also give Vaseline some props here without sounding like I am sucking up. As black people we have grown up with Vaseline. We know this as a traditional brand. It’s a brand that is trusted and can be found in most peoples homes. Enter Vaselines new creative approach and they are demystifying this stereotype in a heavy way.

You see masculinity these days is all about how tough and strong you are. This view of masculinity can also be found in hip hop. It is all about how you can murk the next person and prove your worth in an industry that has always been used to make music to stand against the system. So where am I going with this? Vaseline could have spent millions finding a famous person to push their new campaign and they could have achieved their sales. Simple. They could have made the bottom line and had a 360 campaign with huge media spend. But na. They chose to hit our hearts and got us talking. Damn even I am writing about a Vaseline brand but that’s how dope this topic is.

Using Riky Rick and the idea of strong opens up so many creative ideas that I would quit my job just to explain what this means on so many levels. Riky is not strong physically but he is strong emotionally. He stands for a cause. He is the modern gentleman in hip hop. He is what Kanye was when he was teased for wearing Skinnygenes. So for a brand to play on this nuance of strong excites me because they have touched on a very strong insight.

It is also no secret that Riky likes to look good and this goes with taking care of himself. We should also consider the kids that look up to Riky Rick. They love looking and feeling good about themselves.

So where is the punchline in all of this writing?

The punchline is that Riky Rick keeps moving the culture forward with his moves.Really a Vaseline brand? I just spoke about a Vaseline brand. We just showed love to a Vaseline brand? Yes we did because it takes brave and smart brands to tap into a culture and position themselves in a different way. And as a result they laugh all the way to the bank.

Next time you view an endorsement deal I urge you to study the partnership. I urge to look at the synergy between brands. My heart tells me that we are entering an era where authenticity in collabs will be the hot news. Why? Because you the consumer x the fan are able to smell a bad partnership. You are so equipped with what is happening in the world that they can’t lie to you anymore. Your world has opened up. You want to see brands celebrating the times we live in. And how cool is it that we now have a brand that is telling us to #staystrong because “We aint going nowhere. We can’t be stopped now. Because it’s our CULTURE for life”

Yours In Culture




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