There's no debate: A$AP Rocky is a bona fide superstar. He's released #1 albums. He's served as the face of legendary fashion house Dior. He's been appointed the creative director of MTV Labs. He heads up the A$AP Mob, one of the most powerful collectives in hip-hop today. Yeah, he's major.
However, his latest collaborative venture just might be one of his biggest. He's come together with Mercedes-Benz on a commercial entitled Grow Up: "Get A
The commercial is long, coming in at just under 2 1/2 minutes, and plays more like a mini-documentary than your standard car ad. But what makes it so special is that it has almost nothing to do with Mercedes except for a few shots of a car and their logo at the end. It's much more focused on Rocky's backstory, and lets his charisma carry the viewer through the ad. He discusses his struggles growing up, the death of his big brother (something that he's not generally very fond of talking about), and the "beat" that's been playing in his head.
Major corporations using hip-hop music and famous figures in the culture isn't necessarily anything new (savvy marketing executives figured out that the culture has a lot of buying power way back when they signed Run-DMC up to do adidas ads), but what is new and extremely interesting is how Mercedes lets Rocky carry the ad, knowing that just associating their name with his will do all the marketing work they need.
You see, they understand that their name has a lot of recognition in the hip-hop world. They've been name-dropped in songs by everyone from Biggie to Jay-Z to Kanye to Puffy to Outkast, so they don't need to trumpet their merits in their ad.
They just link up with one of the hottest artists in the game today and let him do his thing. Every so often, a major company will hit a stroke of marketing genius, and make an ad that resonates with the culture ... and Mercedes-Benz has done just that here. Hats off to them.