Feature: Kanye West and the Greatest Marketing Strategy of the Century


Kanye West has dropped subtle, indirect hints at his new album in the past few weeks. Strange fits of screaming in concerts, pop-up shows featuring new songs of confession, and a mysterious tweet – ‘June Eighteen’ – which everyone believes will be the release date of the new project. Things have accelerated leading up to tonight’s season finale of Saturday Night Live, which he will be featured as a musical guest on along with Vampire Weekend. Everyone believed this would be the moment when West finally unveiled something new for the world to tease his album. As many expected, West unveiled new music in spectacle form, just not the way they envisioned.

Last night, something very unique happened around the world.

In sixty six major cities around the globe, teams of insiders projected the first music video on large buildings as bystanders gathered in the streets to gaze. They were unleashed simultaneously and the world watched in awe as West’s battered face stared back at them, delivering an intense, raw track about his race’s interrupted revolution.

It’s a cold, mesmerizing chant that took the world by storm all at once in elite eerie fashion. Restless crowds of curious citizens filled the streets, causing some sites to be shut down by authorities as they halted traffic. If there was any opposition to the cloud of mystery surrounding the album, the solution has arrived; it was all for this moment.

Over night, it became common knowledge what happened and everyone was aware that West would be rushing back to the scene in triumphant force now that he’s made his first blow. Coming on the heels of his SNL performance, the entire world waits in place after the shocking events held last night to see what comes next.

Now, we’re left with more questions than answers. Is this the song that West will perform tonight, or is there something larger in store for us? Will he let us settle into ‘New Slaves’ with ease, or rather deliver another blow just when the world thinks they’re on to his game? There’s no way of knowing other than keeping our attention squarely directed in his direction.

Never has there ever been a smarter marketing strategy. Rather than traditional advertising, West stayed with his naturally larger than life gut feelings and took things to a place bigger than music. As West so often does, he’s succeeded an upcoming  CD into a cultural event.

I’ve watched as the story has unfolded and the beginning chapter has finished with something to hook everyone in. I applaud West for his grandiose idea. Love him or hate him, West has a knack for making a too often dull world into his creative space – literally using buildings as canvases in this case. I’ll be watching SNL with great anxiety tonight, as I’m sure the rest of you reading will as well.



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