Reebok to Launch Daddy Yankee Shoe

Hispanic Reggaeton Music Star Expands Endorsement Push

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NEW YORK ( -- Reggaeton music star Daddy Yankee will add another blue-chip marketer to his growing list of endorsements when he launches a signature DY shoe and apparel line and ad campaign with Reebok on March 8.
Daddy Yankee will have his own shoe and apparel line with Reebok.
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The campaign is from The Additive, Philadelphia and Los Angeles, a firm founded by Que Gaskins -- now Reebok’s VP-global marketing for lifestyle and entertainment for the RBK brand. Though details of the shoe line and the national ads have been kept under wraps, Mr. Gaskins said the campaign is not necessarily geared toward the U.S. Hispanic community.

“It’s all-encompassing,” he said. “It’s more a reflection of Daddy Yankee’s music instead of us trying to pigeonhole him. Reggaeton pulls influences from hip-hop, reggae, merengue and salsa, so the advertising pulls influences from his cultural perspective.”

Crossover marketing appeal
Born Raymond Ayala, the 29-year old native of Puerto Rico now known as Daddy Yankee is reggaeton’s hottest star with wide crossover marketing appeal. The performer, who studies English diligently on his frequent plane trips, is seeing his popularity spread to the general market -- he was profiled in The New York Times Magazine last month.

Reebok has enjoyed great success in marrying music stars with its apparel and shoes; witness signature shoe lines from rappers Jay-Z and 50 Cent.

“Once we got into the space of doing the whole fusion between sports and lifestyle, or sports and entertainment, we were always looking for the next relevant act or different genres of music that fit with the culture of our product,” Mr. Gaskins said. “We try to find entertainers that we think live within our brand. Daddy Yankee, growing up in Puerto Rico and having a love for soccer and affinity for soccer, and understanding how big reggaeton as a music genre was going to be, he was the right guy for us.”

Daddy Yankee is already the face and voice of Pepsi-Cola in Puerto Rico, with a second TV spot breaking there in early March. The campaign by Omnicom Group’s BBDO Puerto Rico started about six months ago and includes TV, print, billboards, cans, merchandising and a concert open only to those who participate in an electronic raffle, entering codes from Pepsi packaging online or by SMS.

“He’s very easy to work with,” said Javier Figueroa, Pepsi’s marketing manager for Puerto Rico. “He doesn’t want to be portrayed as glamorous but as he really is, in the barrio interacting with people. We shot from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m., and he was responsible for about 80% of the creative.”

Mr. Figueroa said there is talk of Pepsi using Daddy Yankee in the U.S. Hispanic market, but nothing has been finalized since the goal would be to tie in a campaign with his concert dates. The ads are starting to run in other Caribbean and Central American markets, he said.

“He’s a clean rapper who appeals to all ages,” said Lourdes Perez, who began packaging Daddy Yankee for marketers about a year ago, soon after starting her own PR company, Halo Communications, in San Juan. “And he’s very reliable. Tell him to be a certain place at a certain time and he’ll be there.”

Cingular cellphone content
In another deal, Daddy Yankee is one of the first artists to perform on Cingular Sounds Live, a concert series designed to create content for cellphones.

Ms. Perez said Daddy Yankee is in discussions with more marketers, but declined to name them.

Ford Motor Co.’s exclusive sponsorship of the performer’s two-hour weekly radio program, “On Fuego,” on ABC Radio Networks en Español rolled out March 4 and is likely to lead to other projects. Ford’s Hispanic ad agency, Zubi Advertising, is working on ideas. “We could expect a series of other things … maybe endorsement of products,” Ms. Perez said. Ford is also believed to be interested in doing a customized Daddy Yankee Ford Fusion.

“[Daddy Yankee] has the potential to be overexposed,” said one Hispanic radio executive. “If he’s not careful he’ll be pitching everything from toothpaste to automotive.”

General Motors Corp. has already learned that. The car maker is using a Daddy Yankee hit song called “Sabor a Melao” (“Taste of Sweetness”) in a Cobalt spot that broke Feb. 1 to target young Hispanics. Pepe Machin, VP-group account director at GM’s Hispanic agency, Accentmarketing, said the agency was initially apprehensive about presenting the creative work to GM’s dealer board.

'On to something big'
“They thought the music was awesome,” Mr. Machin said. “When 50-year-old white men from Kentucky and West Virginia loved it and tell us that’s the direction we need for Chevrolet, we know we’re on to something big.”

Unfortunately, Ford’s sponsorship of radio show “On Fuego” was announced two weeks later, so Daddy Yankee’s future in the car category is more likely with Ford than GM.

When not on tour or developing his advertising career, Daddy Yankee is a fixture at Latin-music awards shows, known both for his dramatic entrances and for winning armfuls of statuettes. He descended from the ceiling perched on top of a cage containing a live tiger to perform at last year’s Premios Juventud (“Youth Awards”) and picked up seven prizes. He broke through a massive wall that looked like concrete into a stylized junkyard to perform a couple of his biggest hits at the premiere Latin music awards, Univision’s Premio Lo Nuestro a La Musica Latina on Feb. 23 in Miami. He was named Artist of the Year for the urban genre and won Song of the Year in that category.

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