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Corporations are no longer sleeping on how a Hip-Hop associated brand ambassador can catapult their product’s awareness. Take Pine Brothers Softish Throat Drops for example. Thanks to shrewd marketing strategies, they used Waka Flocka Flame’s comedic genius to score one of the few highlights during the last American Music Awards and in turn, earned the #1 ranking on Hip-Hop Wired’s best commercial list of 2014.

Pine Bros. Marketing Vice President David Roach tells Hip-Hop Wired that the :30 second TV spot was more than just a fleeting viral moment. It actually worked wonders for the brand’s revenue stream.

“Pine Bros was growing anyway, because our word of mouth buzz is insanely high,” he recalls. “If you try Pine Bros, you’re hooked. But certainly Waka single-handedly doubled sales, I’ll say that, and maybe tripled.”

Roach passes down the lion’s share of the credit to Rider McDowell, who wrote and directed the spot. He says McDowell felt like the existing efforts of promoter Martha Stewart were appreciated but not exactly popular amongst the younger demographic. McDowell reached out to Waka’s managers and they actually joined forces last spring, well before the commercial was a hit. “We saw [it] as heaven-sent,” Roach says.

The risqué primetime placement of the Waka Flocka Pine Bros ad didn’t come without its consequences, however. NBC and CBS banned it from their respective networks, as most of the country is still playing catch-up to California and Colorado when it comes to open acceptance of marijuana usage. Yet, Roach feels the overall victory was worth the minor controversy.

“It was pretty bold, and we had our share of pundits who said it was a goofy move,” he says of the commercial’s weed insinuation. “But Rider is a bold entrepreneur, and he really liked Waka as a person, saw his charisma and potential to appeal to younger consumers across races. Rider never hesitated, but I did! And the gun at the airport incident didn’t exactly help me sleep. But Waka has single-handedly made this great 144 year old product hip again! And in advertising, that is huge.”

Pine Bros can be found where ever its rival boring cough drops are sold.

Photo: Pine Bros

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