Last week, we wrote a story about a survey that suggested millennial consumers think Jay Z suffers from a lack of authenticity.
As a result, the survey found, the Brooklyn-born rapper and business mogul has not been able to convince young consumers to buy the products he endorses.
The story drew sharp criticism from Jay Z’s fans in both the marketing and hip-hop communities, many of whom either took issue with the research methods of celebrity branding expert Jeetendr Sehdev, or felt Business Insider was not qualified to write about hip-hop culture.
Now, Sehdev has been kind enough to share with us some of the exact quotes given to him by the 1,000 millennials he surveyed, many of whom gave Jay Z poor marks in the categories of honesty and trustworthiness. Here is what they said:
On Jay Z’s lack of transparency with regard to his personal life:
- “I don’t really know much about his background. He seems quite guarded. I think he was a drug dealer.”
On his partnership with Barney’s, which was criticised after the upscale retailer was sued for racially profiling black customers:
- “I never really understood the Jay Z/Barney’s deal. That should have never happened.”
- “I love Rocawear, but don’t understand why he’d work with Barney’s. It’s kind of a contradiction.”
- “What’s Barney’s got to do with hip-hop?”
On Jay Z’s artistic integrity:
- “He supposedly made Rihanna but he’s got a full team behind him. He probably doesn’t even write his own songs.”
- “A pop star and a serious hip hop artist? He’s sold out.”
On Jay Z selling his stake in the Brooklyn Nets shortly after he helped move the team from New Jersey:
- “I thought he was supporting his hood, Brooklyn, not his net income.”
- “It’s a shame about what happened with the Brooklyn Nets. That said a lot about his loyalty.”
On the “Life + Times” lifestyle website, which some survey respondents found narcissistic:
- “The website doesn’t tell me much about his real life or times, just his real ego.”
To be fair, some of these claims (particularly the one about whether Jay Z writes his own music) are sort of silly, and probably come from people who aren’t inclined to be influenced by Jay Z either way.
Still, if Jay Z wants to help the brands he works with sell more of their products, Sehdev says he could work to consolidate his brand by only accepting endorsement deals that fit with the image he hopes to communicate to the public.
While millennials are likely to be drawn to Jay Z’s entrepreneurial spirit, Sehdev said the hip-hop star is currently suffering from what he called “brand over-extension.”
“He is publicly involved in everything from Barney’s to Bacardi to Broadway,” Sehdev said.
Though Jay Z’s struggles growing up without a father in a poor Brooklyn housing project are the subject of much of his early work, Sehdev said he could benefit from doing more to show this more human side of himself to those who haven’t yet experienced it.
“He is widely recognised and respected as a cool and successful businessperson, but millennials have their own struggles and relate well to those who do the same,” Sehdev said.
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