American Brandstand

I'm not even going to try to come up with a better subject line. Lucian James's American Brandstand project has tracked brand-name references in Billboard Top 20 singles since January. Now that the year is coming to a close, James returns to offer some key findings. Some statistics:

  • There were 82 different brands mentioned in the Billboard Top 20 in 2003.
  • Of the 111 songs in the Billboard Top 20, 43 had brands in the lyrics
  • The most mentioned brand: Mercedes Benz
  • The artist who mentioned most brands - 50 Cent.
  • Only one branded song was not connected to hip-hop or R&B... Good Charlotte's "Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous."
  • The most amount of brands in a single week of the Billboard top 20 in 2003 was 47, on April 12th.
  • The most brands crammed into one song... 14 — by Lil' Kim in "The Jump Off."

The analysis also considers the inclusion of lifestyle brands launched by musicians — a la Russell Simmons's Phat Farm — and announces the top 10 brands. To counter the trading up trend, there are also some surprising examples of trading down: Payless Shoe Source, K-Mart, U-Haul, and Cool Whip.

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  • D.

    I think you may have Mr. James' intentions backwards. He is merely illustrating the existence of brand relevance in hip-hop and youth culture. He also points out that the brands mentioned are less distinguished by their hip-hop following, than their success.

  • Mark Zorro

    If Lucian James thinks there is a manageable connection between brand strategy and pop culture then he does not understand the word POP, only the word BUBBLE. Brand Strategy isn't a social statement or a statement about "Show me the money", it is a process that connects internal promise to external potential.

    (Mark Twain wasn't Mark Twain, Mark Zorro isn't Mark Zorro)