Steve Stoute Commissions History Daily -- Helping Jay-Z, Justin Timberlake & Corporations Meet Their Matches
They call him The Commissioner for a reason. On the last day of our Blacks Making History campaign, we're giving you Steve Stoute. The advertising executive, who was formerly Mary J. Blige's manager in the 90's, is making landmark multi-million dollar campaigns for the biggest stars in entertainment. And he's the one who's really brokering all the deals your fave celebs are singing and rapping about.
Meet Mr. Stoute inside...
As the founder and CEO of Translation, Inc--an advertising firm who has become the leader in bringing together unlikely corporations and people to create a common profitable message for all involved--Steve Stoute is making history in his own way every day.
It's not every day a black advertising executive is named EXECUTIVE OF THE YEAR by the much respected Ad Age company. And The Tanning of America best selling author nabbed that title just a month ago.
If you're wondering how Jay-Z, his business partner, was welcomed with open arms to the billionaire boys club of NBA owners....you can look at Steve for that. Jay's huge Made In America three-day concert last year with rock, indie and rap acts was also the brainchild of the ad executive, who paired the rapper with another big client--Budweiser. And it was all to further the idea that music is about the message, not the races of the people who love it.
From Chris Brown getting teamed up with Doublemint Gum--which produced a hit song to boot--to Justin Timberlake bringing "soulful pop" to the McDonald's "I'm Loving It" campaign to LeBron James starring in fun basketball ads for State Farm...these are all the products of Steve Stoute's skills. He also worked out major deals for people like Lady Gaga. And Steve's newest brainchild is NBA All-Star MVP Chris Paul's comedic Cliff Paul/Chris Paul campaign with State Farm.
It's not often big corporate brands take a risk with a deep long term relationship with hip hop or pop culture. And thanks to Stoute, he's making corporations understand what they could be missing out on. The voice of those cultures are now included in the big brands those same voices spend their money with.
All of these business moves commissioned by Steve Stoute lead not only to MAJOR millions for all involved...but also lead to the culture and voices of those who have always been ignored in the past, now being seen & heard with a synergy that is mutually beneficial.
The Queens native, who is a former head honcho at the urban divisions of Sony Music & Geffen, told Ad Age about what first sparked his interest in advertising and influence: Will Smith & Tommy Lee Jones' sunglasses from Men In Black that people started buying like crazy.
"Everyone thought it was a coincidence, and I was like, 'This isn't a coincidence,'" said Mr. Stoute. "I just felt like there was an opportunity in the ad business, because clients' ads were isolated from what was truly happening in culture."
And about how he creates the blueprint for this type of "meshed" advertising:
"Entertainment is so sexy that people only pay attention to that," said Mr. Stoute. "But I think our strategy department is the best in the industry. The thinking in our agency never gets the credit it deserves because we have a celebrity. We are first and foremost a strategic and creative shop. And second, we have a Rolodex in entertainment and sports that's unique in the industry."
Ad Age also reported on the major growth in his company over just a couple years:
His philosophy on marketing and culture was laid out in his 2011 book, "The Tanning of America: How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy," which essentially details how urban and hip-hop culture became mainstream culture, defining how millennials view the world. To use his own words, no longer does your ethnicity predetermine your cultural values. In other words, multiple cultures are the new general market.
The book has helped him define a personal brand in the marketing world, while the strategy has helped win accounts. In 2012, the agency grew its revenue 60% and increased its head count from 70 to more than 120 employees in New York and Chicago, with work from clients like McDonald's State Farm and A-B InBev getting general-market play. Picking up the Bud Light creative account, which was at McGarryBowen , shows that big marketers increasingly have faith in Mr. Stoute and his agency.
Steve's making black history every day by being a leading force in giving our culture, as well as others', a significant voice in mainstream and corporate America. And finding the perfect synergy and commonalities between the most unlikely of groups. Love it!