Today, marketers — particularly those working the streaming video space — are forever chasing the millennial demographic, which seems translate to bearded pale dudes sporting post-ironic t-shirts and perhaps a man-bun and their female equivalents, resembling background extras from HBO’s “Girls,” with a touch of old-fashioned Benetton ad multiculturalism thrown in now and then.
But hip hop and youth culture-focused multi-platform producer All Def Digital (ADD) is setting out to change that with the launch of a new in-house creative agency, ADHD, designed to help brands and ad agencies connect with the urban vertical in the millennial demographic.
ADHD will be headed by Josh Mandel (pictured, left), a 20-year veteran of the marketing and advertising world who has crafted campaigns for brands including Nike, Samsung, Sonos, Activision and Addidas.
Mandel comes to ADHD from advertising agency R/GA, AdAge’s 2015 Agency of the Year, where he started and ran the Los Angeles office and worked with clients such as Beats by Dre. Earlier in his career, he held leadership positions at TBWA/Chiat/Day, 180 Amsterdam, Weiden+Kennedy and 72andSunny, and worked in-house at Nike.
The hire was announced today by ADD chairman Russell Simmons and CEO Sanjay Sharma
“When I saw what Russell and Sanjay were doing with ADD, I was in immediately,” said Mandel in a statement. “Hip-hop permeates global pop culture across people of all ages, through nearly every art form. And yet its influence, and hence a massive audience, remains an after-thought for many in our industry. I’m excited to put the culture front-and-center where it belongs, in our conversations with today’s youth and in today’s commerce.”
Launched in 2013 by Simmons in partnership with AwesomenessTV, All Def Digital targets urban millennials with short-form programming including the artist discovery series “The Signal,” the weekly sports show “Two Minute Drill,” the political commentary series “The Firing squADD,” and “Arts and Raps,” a hip hop interview show where kids do arts and crafts with hip hop artists.
The company has a first look deal with HBO, and it has also developed ADD25, a digital platform designed to surface emerging musical artists, and inked a deal with WorldStar Hip Hop to develop television content.
In February, ADD mounted “All Def Movie Awards,” an urban alternative to the Oscars that was telecast on Fusion.
Earlier this week, the company announced that it is partnering Merry Jane, a cannabis lifestyle media platform that aims to explore the “crossroads of pot culture, business, politics [and] health,” to launch a “Def Roast” franchise in the spirit of Friars Club celebrity roasts. Its inaugural honoree/target will be Merry Jane’s founder, rapper Snoop Dogg.