View Count: 127 |  Publish Date: June 20, 2013
Jay-Z shoots, scores with NBA Finals reveal
Tyler R. Tynes, Inquirer Staff Writer Posted: Thursday, June 20, 2013, 3:01 AM
An NBA Finals reveal. A secret strategy. A three-minute docu-mercial.
Hip-hops latest apocalyptic moment is proving to be marketing genius.
Only one person could have pulled that off. You might call him Jigga, Jigga-man, or even Hova - we all call him Jay-Z.
Ironicially, in what was supposed to be Kanye Wests week - between his new album and the Kimye spawn - Jay-Z blew both rap fans and basketball aficionados away Sunday evening during Game 5 of the NBA Finals, with a one-time TV showing of a commercial promoting his new Magna Carta Holy Grail, to be released July 4.
Fans had no idea the album was coming. And in another marketing twist, the business mogul announced that Samsung Galaxy users would get the album free on July 1.
The ad was impeccably placed, said James Peterson, an expert on hip-hop culture and director of Africana studies at Lehigh University. What wasnt surprising was the timing and placement of the ad.
Jay-Z told us about the coming of Magna Carta in such an extreme fashion, he built a level of excitement that left the rap world in a chokehold, Peterson said.
Jay-Z gave fans a sneak peek into what could have been an exclusive recording session of the new album. He raps, plays an invisible piano, interacts with four of the best-known producers in the industry: Timbaland, Rick Rubin, Swizz Beatz, and Pharell.
Social media exploded the moment the commercial ended. Four days later, the hashtag Magna Carta is still trending.
ESPN basketball analyst Chris Palmer immediately sent the commercials link to his 72,500 Twitter followers. Temple basketball star Khalif Wyatt, like many, simply tweeted #MagnaCarta to his 10,800 followers.
The one-word hashtag reinforced Jay-Zs self-proclaimed, sharply manufactured, bigger-than-life persona. The world needs just two words - that he picked himself - to describe him.
Jay-Z faithfuls on social media erupted at the news, thrilled that Hova was back with his first solo album in four years. They raved about the beats in the commercial.
Whether they loved Jay-Z or not, nobody could believe how long the commercial was.
Im already watching television, so I might as well finish the commercial, said Ian DeShields, 25, from Mount Airy. I mean, its Jay-Z, why wouldnt I?
But the hype didnt end there. Before halftime of Game 6, fans on Twitter were hoping for Part 2 of the Carta saga.
Jay-Z has always circumvented the old-school way of doing business in the music industry. Hes a rapper and entrepreneur, owner of an entertainment empire and sports agency - and founder of the Budweiser Made in America festival, which returns to Philadelphia in August.
Now 43 and worth $500 million, he is living his dream - to be a mogul in hip-hop and sports.
He and LeBron James almost mirror each other from culture, hip-hop, and basketball, said Sean Sweeney, a senior editor for Dime magazine, a basketball and style quarterly. Hip-hop and basketball [have been] connected for so long.
And what Jay-Z knows is that his demographic is the Samsung Galaxy target audience - minority urbanites, 18 to 29, who like hip-hop and basketball.
There is somewhat of an urban preference for the phone, Peterson said. If you go to a hip-hop show in Philly, many people will film the artist with a Galaxy. . . . There are some class affinities that go with the iPhone.
What we know wasnt cheap was how much a three-minute ad cost during the NBA Finals.
A 30-second spot on national TV costs anywhere from $200,000 to $500,000, according to David Allen, professor of music marketing at St. Josephs. He estimated a three-minute commercial cost from $1.25 million to $3 million. Neither Jay-Zs camp nor Samsungs was talking.
Its not cheap, but extremely effective, Allen said.
Hes a smart guy, and Samsung is a smart company and theyre trying to be cooler than Apple, Allen said. Its not many things that are harder than that, but I think theyre winning.
Time will tell.
The commercial was long. I thought it was all about Jay-Z, thats why I watched it, said 20-year-old Derrick Taylor, a business major at Kutztown University from North Philly. But just because he used Samsung, doesnt make me want to change phones. Im an iPhone faithful and thats just how it is. . . . But, of course, Im still going to buy his album. Its Jay-Z were talking about.
Contact Tyler R. Tynes at or follow on Twitter @realtylertynes.Tyler R. TynesInquirer Staff Writer #post2 .pw-icon.ra1-pw-icon-reddit {background: url() 0px 0px no-repeat !important;width: 60px !important;height: 20px !important;margin-right:8px;}#post2 .pw-icon.ra1-pw-icon-email {background: url() 0px 0px no-repeat !important;width: 71px !important;height: 28px !important;}0comments

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