Branding and Must-See TV

This week, talking about Drake's album in terms of marketing, and American Crime Story.

Hi - Welcome to this week’s newsletter. This week, I’m obviously talking about three things among other topics: American Crime Story: The Impeachment, Drake’s Impact on Marketing & Branding, and the Elizabeth Holmes Trial.

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American Crime Story: The Impeachment

I’m writing this newsletter as I sit anxiously awaiting American Crime Story: The Impeachment, which means two things, (1) my time management as of late sucks (2) I am hype for this show.

If you know me or follow me on social media, you would know that this show is one of the things I have been anxiously waiting for. I’m not sure why I find the impeachment so interesting, but it’s one of those things I can never get enough of, and it’s been that way since I was a kid. Not sure if it’s because it’s one of the original “sip tea” moments if that was a thing during this time. You feel sympathetic towards Monica Lewinsky because she did quite a poor job selecting people to interact with: she was taken advantage of by the most powerful man in the United States at the time, Bill Clinton, yet she also knew he was married. Then she befriended a person who was a snitch - the OJays would call her a “Backstabber” (hmm, not sure why I listed the OJays as a connection) who taped all these vulnerable conversations and exploited her essentially. It’s a lot.

What was most surprising to me about this show is that Monica is a producer on the show. Although Monica has been a very outspoken figure and a GREAT Twitter follow, she has tried to distance herself from the affair, so to be a producer on this show, I’m curious how this will shape some of the narratives on the show.

I will report back next week, but in the meantime, I wanted to share some quotes from her New York Times feature that stuck out to me.

“When you have made a colossal mistake like I did so early in your life, and lost so much because of it, the idea of making a mistake is catastrophic. And yet in order to move forward, I have to take risks. I have to try things. I have to continue to define who I am.”

“When I got to know Monica, more than a decade later, she was 41, but without many of the things a person her age might want: a permanent residence, a source of income, a career path, a family of her own. While the rest of the world — the Clintons, the news media, even the other women involved — had moved on, she was seemingly frozen in time.”

“I wanted a job, I wanted a husband, I wanted kids. I wanted to be treated normally.”

“The reality is that this story has been part of a collective conversation for 20 years, and as I evolve, as the world evolves, it comes to have different meanings.”

Drake’s Impact on Marketing and Branding

I once told someone that Drake makes music for girls who go to Miami for Spring Break and men who think they have lots of heaux’s. Well, I said that last week as I digested Drake’s sixth studio album, Certified Lover Boy, and although I still stand by those opinions, I would also say that Drake makes music for marketers.

As soon as Drake released the album artwork, brands were going crazy, making their own variation of the album cover to support their marketing needs. I saw a variation of the cover with the pregnant woman carrying passports to promote travel. I saw Maury make a version of it to continue to brand his paternity test trademark. I saw food companies make variations of it, and even Adobe created their own version with different versions of Adobe software on the images with people on laptops.

This behavior has been synonymous with Drake and his various rollouts - remember the versions of “Hotline Bling” along with the spoofs that came after? Unfortunately, I, too, have also fallen into the trap of Drake’s marketing. I, at one point, wanted a baby tramp stamp on the right side that said, “October’s Very Own” with the little owl logo. I thought against it however because of pain.

Drake as Jimmie reference because I’m a queen of a lyrical connection.

Anywho, marketing aside, I did think the album is good as a whole. There were parts in the album that sparked joy for me:

Here are a few other things I thought were worth sharing this week:

  • Elizabeth Holmes’ Trial is going on, and there are two podcasts I have been listening to stay up to date: The Dropout and Bad Blood, the Final Chapter. It’s been interesting so far. I just listened to an interesting episode of The Dropout that followed the jury selection. I learned two things from that episode: (1) there are no black people on the jury, and in a way, it seems like they are trying to get rid of the diverse jurors, and (2) this one guy said he locked eyes with Elizabeth, but I feel like that was a fable. Are you listening?

  • I just finished reading Thanks for Waiting: The Joy (& Weirdness) of Being a Late Bloomer by Doree Shafrir and honestly, it was a perfect read for the space I think I am in right now. I feel like I’m in a very transitional space with life and find myself often wondering what’s next.

  • Coming to Terms With the Legacy of Rick James, New York Times
    Honestly, I can’t wait for this documentary. Also, if you have not yet, do yourself a favor and read Glow: The Autobiography of Rick James by David Ritz. Rick has a crazy life.

  • The Great Resignation Doesn’t Have to Threaten Your DE&I Efforts, Harvard Business Review.
    Very interesting read about how companies need to adapt and look for ways to support their DE&I work in the face of the great resignation that is happening right now. This article lays out six different strategies, including slowing down to think long-term and strategically, reframing the definition of what is considered a “diverse hire,” and developing a role-specific diversity sourcing strategy.

  • Black Girls In Trader Joe’s Founder Dee Davis is Creating Community Connection Through The Power of Food, Blavity
    I’m part of this community. I admit I had a petty moment one day on Instagram and unfollowed them because none of my great Trader Joe’s photos were getting shared on the IG feed (yes, petty, I told you), but now that I am back, I love the community. I come to Black Girls in Trader Joe’s on Instagram and Facebook and have found different skincare routines, recipes, and other products to try out. This is a great article with the founder of the community. Speaking of Trader Joe’s, here is a ranking of the best dips.

That’s it for this week. I’ll end this newsletter with one of my favorite things right now, Sinead Harnett’s video for “Distraction,” from her great, great, great album, Ready is Always Too Late.