Kendrick Lamar Puts His Powerful Foot Down for Reebok

There is some serious anticipation for Kendrick Lamar’s next album, the follow-up to his universally acclaimed and game-breaking major label debut good kidd, m.A.A.d. city. For those waiting impatiently, Lamar and Reebok have teamed up to hold the music world over with an inspiring video ode to his hometown, Compton, California. In the clip, which features powerful a cappella verses from the rapper’s first EP, Lamar interacts with students from his alma mater, Centennial High School, delivering messages of hope and self-confidence.

The video is part of a partnership with Reebok, for which the rapper is designing a new version of the brand’s classic Ventilator shoe.

Lamar even explains his history with the shoe company and why he decided to partner with them in a press release: “Reebok has a history of helping kids in the community realize their potential is limitless,” he said. “I saw what the brand was doing, and I wanted to be a part of it and make it even stronger. It’s as simple as that. Kids that listen to my music are looking for inspiration. It’s important that I continue that message in anything I represent.”

Over the last year, we’ve seen a number of shoe companies promote their products with creative projects like playful animation and user-generated designs. Tally this effort as another innovative example of shoe companies relying on artistic storytelling.

But what really catches our attention from a branding standpoint is how Reebok sponsored Lamar and let his creative efforts—not the product—take center stage. The company’s logo only appears in the last four seconds of the video, but they’re still reeling in the free press coverage from letting an amazing artist do his thing. It’s a laissez-faire model other brands can—and should—use to their advantage as they kick the habit of intrusive product placement.

Image by Reebok
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