Brand strategist/designer David Gensler, formerly of Philadelphia's Human Brand, is in New York running Native/DBG these days, which is the design unit of the ROC family of brands, an entertainment/fashion empire founded by hip-hop entrepreneurs and Roc-A-Fella CEOs Damon Dash and Kareem Burke, and co-owned by Jay-Z. The brands embody a dizzying panoply of urban marketing possibilities, including Armadale vodka, C. Ronson, State Property, Rocawear, ROC Music, Roc-A-Fella Records, Team Roc, Roc-a-Fella Films, Dash Films and even some magazines. Native/DBG's new print work for Roca Wear, State Property and Team Roc run the gamut from black and white color-by-numbers-styled portraits of hip-hoppers to sexy photographs by Albert Watson. A small taste of a recent blizzard of work for Roca Wear and State Property, produced in conjunction with Albert Watson's production company, Cyclops, is seen here. "We entitled the campaign 'La Familia,' which mirrors the internal brand platform language, " says Gensler. "We're pulling everything together this year with one universal brand position: 'Family.' The positive and universal meaning of 'family' is a logical choice, because the ROC is just that, one big family - all our brands, all our artists and, most importantly, all our consumers make up our powerful and expansive global family.
"For the main Roca Wear campaign," Gensler continues, "we wanted to shock the industry by removing all the flashy, overdone imagery, so we focused on super-clean and honest portraits." However, "the State Property campaign goes in a different visual direction. We pulled our inspiration from Russian, Chinese, Cuban and American propaganda posters. We want to showcase the overwhelming success of the clothing brand and the music. Each visual element was hand drawn, then converted into 3-D. In some ads, there are five different custom layers."
8See www.nativedbg.com, www.rocawear.com, www.state-property.net, www.cyclopsnyc.com and www.eneone.com for more.
Client: The ROC Master Strategy: David Gensler, Damon Dash, Kareem Burke Creative Director: David Gensler, Aki Spicer Art Direction/Copy/Design: (Team Roc and Roca Wear): Native/DBG Art Direction/Copy/Design: (State Property) Native/DBG, Eneone, Aki Spicer Executive Producers: Mike Jurkovac, Liz Watson Photographer: Albert Watson