'His unique spin'
A-B named the aspiring hip-hop mogul -- aka Shawn Carter -- "co-brand director" for Bud Select today, noting, in a press release, that the rapper "will participate in Budweiser Select planning sessions to provide his unique spin, thoughts and insights on various brand programs."
The release added: "Jay-Z also will be involved in providing direction on other upcoming Budweiser Select television ads, radio spots, print campaigns and several high-profile events."
A-B's VP-brand management, Marlene Coulis, was unavailable to immediately answer questions about the extent of Jay-Z's role on the brand.
In sales slump
But clearly, the No. 1 brewer is hoping the rapper can restore momentum for the upscale light-beer brand, which has seen sales slump following an $84 million launch in 2005 that turned the brand into the No. 13 beer brand in the U.S.
In a TV spot airing during tonight's baseball playoff game on Fox, Bud Select product placements will be incorporated into scenes from a video from Jay-Z's upcoming album, "Kingdom Come," which is scheduled for release Nov. 21. The spot, by Cannonball, St. Louis, also features car-racing stars Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Danica Patrick.
It's not known whether Jay-Z -- a onetime pitchman for Heineken -- will supplement or supplant A-B's incoming CEO, August Busch IV, as the brand's primary spokesman. It was also unclear whether the rapper intends to drop references to Bud Select into song lyrics, as other hip-hop artists have done with brands such as Courvoisier, Hennessey, Cristal and Don Perignon.
According to San Francisco consulting firm Agenda, which tracks brand mentions in song lyrics for its annual "American Brandstand" survey, no beer brands were mentioned in hip-hop lyrics during 2005, although import brand Corona did land three mentions during 2004.