Musician partners with UEG for I Am Other
Pharrell Williams wants to give people something to tweet about or post on Facebook.The musician and fashion mogul has paired up with branded entertainment producer United Entertainment Group to launch I Am Other as a content-driven property that spotlights new musicians, filmmakers, designers, artists and innovators through online, mobile and retail channels, TV shows and films. Venture is being formally introduced to marketers Tuesday as they’re gathered in Gotham to choose which TV shows to advertise around this fall. I Am Other is courting those same sponsors. It’s designed around products and experiences that Williams will curate and recommend to his millions of fans and followers for them to purchase. I Am Other will also bow this fall, fitting in with the media planning of buyers at the upfronts. Given the various platforms I Am Other will embrace, Williams and UEG have adopted a lofty tone in describing the concept that emphasizes “championing the creative spirit” by providing opportunities that let consumers “establish their voice.” “We’d like I Am Other to serve as a giant magnet attracting the most creative individuals who share our view of things,” said Jarrod Moses, prexy-CEO of United Entertainment Group, which is backed by United Talent Agency. “We will find those people and tell their stories in a way that inspires others to dream bigger and go further.” Launch comes as both Hollywood and Madison Avenue are increasingly frustrated over how to effectively reach younger consumers — especially those 16-25 — and identify new ways to make their wares appeal to that audience. While I Am Other will produce and distribute content, it will also tap into new commerce models like Gilt and Groupon that have proved successful while drawing on the social networking of Facebook and Twitter. Venture’s name taps into a new type of consumer that is turning to experiences and stories that help define them as individuals, said Williams said in an interview with Variety from a yacht off the shores of Cannes, where he performed with Kanye West over the weekend at a soiree for film financier Red Granite Pictures. “It’s for people who think other,” Williams said, with “?’other’ being the operative word.” Williams and UEG were influenced by how more people are documenting their lives via their phones and posting their experiences on Facebook as proof. “Stories are their assets,” said Robby Wells, senior VP of strategy for UEG. “I Am Other is about giving them products and experiences that give them stories to tell.” “The first installment (of I Am Other) is about delivering those experiences through products, excursions, anything that is tangible to a human that can make their life easier,” Williams said. “A lot companies claim they can make the world better. We want to make lives easier and unlock what normally would seem impossible possible.” Marketers would be tapped to help provide some of the content around their products or services and not just post a 30-second ad or banner. Williams and UEG would split a percentage of the revenue generated from sales with brands. Williams recently paired with Karmaloop TV to serve as the youth culture channel’s creative director. Because of the relationship, Karmaloop will be integrated into I Am Other in some form when it bows. In addition to producing albums for Jay-Z, Madonna, Beyonce, Britney Spears, Jennifer Lopez, Shakira and Kid Cudi, among others, Williams serves as the frontman of N.E.R.D., and oversees the fashion label Billionaire Boys Club and Ice Cream Footwear. He recently made a cameo in Universal’s comedy “Get Him to the Greek,” and produced the soundtrack for the studio’s toon “Despicable Me.” UEG has previously worked with such clients as Procter & Gamble, Estee Lauder, LG, Build-A-Bear Workshop, Williams-Sonoma and Frito Lay.