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First Eminem and Chrysler, Now Tupac and Ford: Is Hip Hop Saving Detroit’s Car Brands?

Most people will remember that last year’s Superbowl featured an ad by Chrysler with native Detroit rapper, Eminem, as the star. The ad was a win-win for the embattled American car brand since African Americans (presumably) enjoy music, especially gospel and hip-hop, which was showcased by a gospel choir and Eminem.  Since the ad  gave potential African-American consumers both, the Chrysler  marketing team won with their targeted market.

Now it seems that Ford is following suit, using the poetry of deceased rapper Tupac Shakur to promote its Ford Fusion.

The campaign, called “A Rose,” features Ford builders chiseling a block of stone to reveal the new Ford Fusion. The climax of the ad is a voice over of Tupac, reciting his poem, “The Rose That Grew from Concrete.”

“The late Tupac Shakur’s poem, “The Rose That Grew from Concrete,” is the perfect description for the way the new Fusion’s design came to be. As it’s described in the words of the poem, the Fusion is a clear testimony of what we can do if we keep our dreams” said Shawn Thompson, Ford manager, Multicultural Marketing.

Tupac was the voice of black male youth during his short life, but one doubts, if he were here today, that he’d be the voice of consumerism. But if Martin Luther King’s family is willing to sign a multimedia publishing deal with Time Warner, reportedly worth millions, to sell King’s likeness to corporations, then we should not be surprised that Tupac’s work is now on the auction block as well.

Hip-hop is popular. Tupac is a hip-hop icon. And as always in America, corporations will use the popularity of mega personalities, dead or alive, to push their products.