Will.i.am can’t possibly sleep. The Black Eyed Peas front man seems to create and work on so many different and amazing projects that he must never have time to be tired. Even during sleep he is probably thinking about what partnerships he can create and has a ipad next to his bed to write them down as soon as wakes up!
Will.i.am really understands partnerships and the power of brands too, having created and exhaustive list of creative initiatives over the last few years. He has sold over 50 million albums and knows the power that he wields.
He is as business and brand friendly as a pop star/celebrity can possibly be. He not only responds to brands, he proactively rings them up and suggests creative ways that they can work together. A welcome change to the days when pop stars considered brand endorsement and sponsorship as “selling out”. Oh how many millions of dollars they missed out on!
Just some of his brand partnerships include:
- Barack Obama – Yes We Can musical video was a phenomenon that helped propel Obama to the White House
- The Princes Trust – funneling his own money to science projects in Brixton and East London
- Nasa (yes Nasa, how many pop stars have partnerships with them!) beamed appropriately named “Reach for the Stars” back from the Curiosity Rover on Mars to earth
- Intel – where he is director of creative innovation
- Dr Pepper were the first where Will.i.am found out that he could make more money doing an advert than doing a tour
- Beats by Dr Dre where he is advisor and investor and created a clever Beats “B” logo on the pitch of the Super Bowl seen by tens of millions of people and told the organisers who forbid such things that were unpaid for that it stood for “Black Eyed Peas”…
- Coors – which included special recordings being produced by the Coors brand ZIMA (presumably too young for adding “frame” to the brand….)
- BlackBerry – who sponsored various tours
- Best Buy – who promoted Beats headphones
- Coca Cola – the most ambitious and most interesting, where Will.i.am focuses on promoting recycling through the brand EkoC (Coke backwards) soon to be called Ekocycle (elcycoke backwards…..) and has created special Beats headphones made of recycled materials soon to be followed by Swatch and Schwinn cycle manufacturers
- Segway cars – judging a robotics competition
Will.i.am is a role model for how business brands and celebrity brands can work together and not only achieve joint marketing objectives but also try and change the world at the same time for the better. More of Will.i.am and less of Katy Perry and the world will be a better place.
With thanks to the Financial Times for the background.