Common x Jimmy Kimmel Show // On The Run

Common onstage at Jimmy Kimmel Couple weeks ago, I went to the Jimmy Kimmel Show to see Common perform. Thanks to Jimmy's sports booker, John Carlin for the green room and backstage hospitality, and to Juxt Interative CMO (and part-time Rebel evangelist), Josh Mooney for making it happen. Mooney brought Paul Sutton from 180 (agency for Adidas, Boost, etc.), and another dude called Duke Fightmaster — his real name, which was a topic of conversation every time we met someone new — who hosts an eponymous variety show online at dukefightmaster.com.

I think I’ve been locked away working for too long, but it really felt like a big night out.

John got us on stage for Common’s set. The curly head in the bottom center of the photo belongs to Danny Masterson, another guest that night. What you don’t see is that as I snapped this picture, Serena Williams is standing directly to my right, and Interscope’s Tim Reid to my left. Well-rounded group.

Common recently remarked that Obama will change hip hop. I hope he’s right. But it didn’t change his set. He brought the same kind of fire he always does, on this night with a live band. He even gave Pontiac its money’s worth, weaving them into a little intro freestyle to acknowledge that they sponsor the stage. I wonder how that’s paying off for them. They’re obviously getting impressions, but does anyone care at all - does it make a difference?

Obama T-shirts // Headlines: Rebel Makes News

I mentioned a couple weeks ago that Rebel is part of a collective that contributes to international trendspotting site, Science of the Time. Well, one of my recent submissions got picked up for their top 15 this month. Check out why we say Obama T-shirts are the best and how they've transcended politics and are now part of popular culture.

And while you're there, be sure to check out what other folks from around the world are spotting.

YouTube Fireside Chats // Down With Us

Man, these guys are right on it. President-Elect Obama announced last week that he'll be addressing the world weekly via YouTube and radio broadcasts. That's what I'm talking about!

You might be wondering — Why? He already got elected, what does he need to do that for? How will he have time to do this? — and things of that nature.

Obama's platform was a little thing we like to call change. What he really meant to say was that he's a Rebel. Apparently, he believes in the things we believe in, such as transparency, and conversation. Maybe he understands that if he engages the public in regular, relevant conversations, they will continue to support his brand. See my last post about this: a lot of people felt invested in the outcome of the election for the very first time, and now part of the President's job is to keep them engaged.

This is the right way to do that: go where the people are, do something relevant to them, and be your brand.

You can watch the first address here.

What's Next? // Random Thoughts

Let me start by saying that this is not a blog about politics. There's plenty of those out there. But, I do want to talk about something this election has brought us, besides a new president. Perhaps most exciting about this election season is the unprecedented levels of participation by young voters. Having come up as part of the "who cares?" generation, I am personally and professionally excited by the engagement of vast numbers of millennials. On Huffington Post, Michael Hais and Harley Winograd make a fairly bold claim that:

"America's last civic generation, Millennials will lead a makeover of American politics. This realignment will make the Democratic Party the dominant force in U.S. politics and will turn the country away from the divisive social issues and gridlock of the past forty years to a win-win approach that confronts and actually resolves fundamental economic and foreign policy matters. Welcome to the Millennial Era."

As I said, this is not about politics, it’s about a trend. And it's fairly clear to me that political engagement, or at least interest, is the latest millennial trend to sweep the nation, much in the same way that "not giving a shit" was the trend when my generation came of age and "Tune In, Turn On, Drop Out" was the mantra of my parents' age group. Millions of young Americans are on board with this trend of engagement for the very first time - most likely due to a confluence of factors including a challenging economic and world political stage, the quick and facile spread of information online, and the candidates' handy use of all available media for fundraising and getting the message out.

But what’s the one thing we know about trends? They never last. More precisely, they never stay the same. The word "trend" itself connotes motion, and in reality a trend is not a physical thing the way it's often described, but rather a direction in which things move.

So, the question for us all is what's next? What is the next iteration of this trend? What will millions of kids do now that there's no longer an end game in sight to energize them? Surely, some have converted to lives of political engagement that will last throughout their days, but my guess is that's probably a smallish minority. Just as the hippies eventually cut their hair and got jobs, so will these youngsters move on from moveon.org.

More importantly, what will you do? Will you find a way to leverage all of this energy? Make your brand relevant to this trend while you've got people's attention? Become the new hero that brings the change that both candidates promised and America so clearly wanted? Or will you sit back and watch it all disperse and then wonder why nobody cares about your marketing messages?