Kanye West is talented, accomplished and successful. He has a long list of achievements as a recording artist, songwriter, producer, fashion designer and businessman.
But Kanye has another talent which gets way too little recognition. He is brilliant when it comes to generating publicity. As most of us know by now, West was never a hoodlum, his public persona is of his own creation. He is a child of well-educated, cultured parents. His mother – Dr. Donda West – undoubtedly raised him with the awareness of what is – and what isn’t – socially acceptable. Considering Kanye’s upbringing, his frequent faux pas (social “slips”) seem to be a deliberate strategy at generating publicity. Still, Kanye West doesn’t shy away from controversy, he seems to be thriving AND capitalizing on it.
He follows the maxim, ANY publicity is good publicity. Kanye has a history of attracting attention with his outrageous public behavior.
- His verbal attack at President George W. Bush during a live TV broadcast following Hurricane Katrina in 2005.
- West interrupting Taylor Swift’s acceptance speech during 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.
- His marriage to Kim Kardashian which continues to be a publicity gift that keeps on giving…. (At the beginning of their romance, many suspected that the coupling was a sham concocted solely for publicity’s sake.)
Kanye West’s latest and again, profitable use of publicity is the way he sells his “The Life of Pablo” line of clothing, inspired by his 2016 album by the same name.
The conventional way of selling branded clothing calls for a Website or a brick-and-mortar store. Either venue would have produced sales for Kanye. Naturally, the sales would be highest following the opening and then slow down. Kanye liked the idea of initial enthusiasm but not the typical slow down afterwards and came up with an idea to keep the good part only – strong sales, high level of enthusiasm and appearance of scarcity that increases demand – while avoiding tedious slow sales, aging stock and on-going overhead. Hence, Kanye’s popup stores.
His weekend popup store in New Your City made a million dollars over a weekend! (Can the number be exaggerated? Quite possibly, after all the number comes from the hype master himself.)
Kanye’s Los Angeles popup store (at 346 N. Fairfax Avenue) is booming as we speak, it’s open from 12 p.m.-8 p.m. this weekend, Aug. 19-21.
It appears that there is no stopping Kanye. His popup stores are scheduled to make a one weekend appearance allover the US (among the ities mentioned are Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit, San Francisco and Portland) and the world (among the locations are cities in Australia, Africa, Asia and Europe). To contribute to the anticipatory excitement, exact dates are to be released only 24 hours in advance on kanyewest.com.
His many talents not withstanding, Kanye West is a gifted (albeit not classy) publicist. His latest venture, The Life of Pablo pop-up stores – a breakthrough in creating shopping fiver – certainly proves it.
Kanye West: like him or not, one has to agree that the man is inventive and knows how to create hype! Come to think of it, the Kim Kardashian / Kanye West marriage could be a match made in Heaven, after all: each of the spouses is a master of hype….
Anything L.A. Magazine’s Entertainment Editor / I. Sturm