BCL Entertainment's Bettie Levy on the Lil Jif Project With Ludacris and Gunna
Bettie Levy is the founder and CEO of BCL Entertainment, a die-hard music fan (every genre), an avid traveler (all seven continents and all 50 states checked off), a devoted runner (from a run around the block between meetings to marathons) and someone who has the best family and friends ever. Bettie founded BCL Entertainment, a talent/event producing and brand partnerships company, 12 years ago.
The company incorporates talent into live events, virtual events, private events, television, digital programming and branded campaigns. Notable projects include talent producing Ludacris and Gunna's starring roles in the Lil Jif Project and talent producing Renee Elise Goldsberry as the voice of a new jingle for CVS Health. Prior to BCL Entertainment, Bettie worked for Sony Music and IMO Entertainment. Oh, and she is notorious for her handwritten thank you notes and birthday cards as well as sending emails at all hours of the day/night.
We caught up with Bettie for our Liner Notes series to learn more about her musical tastes and journey through the years, as well as recent work she's proud of and admired.
Bettie, tell us...
Where you live now.
New York City (and am often on the road traveling for business).
Your earliest musical memory.
Listening to the score of "They're Playing Our Song" on a cassette tape in the car with my parents. I still vividly remember what the album artwork looked like.
Your first concert.
I went to a lot of concerts starting in middle school, and although there were a few earlier concerts than the one I am about to mention, I will never forget seeing Aerosmith and 4 Non Blondes. My mother chaperoned me and my friends—after she looked through the newspaper for weeks trying to figure out how to buy tickets to the show. I still have the T-shirt from that concert.
Your favorite bands/musicians.
I love so many artists, but if I had to pick one favorite, Billy Joel. I like to say I too have a "residency" at Madison Square Garden, thanks to Billy's residency.
How you get your music these days.
I consume music however I can and constantly. I listen to music on Sirius, Spotify, YouTube, Apple and social media—Instagram, TikTok, etc. I still buy CDs—yes, I still own thousands of CDs—and cassette tapes and records too.
Your favorite place to see a concert.
My favorite place to see a concert is my "residency" location, Madison Square Garden. I also love seeing shows at The Capitol Theatre in Port Chester, Radio City Music Hall and any outdoor sporting venue like a baseball park or a concert on a beach.
Your favorite music video.
Oh gosh. I love so many videos, it is hard to pick just one. I typically love videos with a lot of dancing, like Michael Jackson's "Smooth Criminal." The Carters' "Apeshit" also just came to mind because it is simply an awesome and powerful video.
Your favorite music-focused TV show and/or podcast.
I don't religiously watch any TV show and/or podcast. I am too busy listening to music. That being said, any music-based award shows (Grammys, Tony Awards, AMAs), or any music-based TV segments (James Corden's musical numbers, SNL musical performances, Jimmy Fallon's History of Rap), I will watch all that programming on repeat.
A recent project you're proud of.
BCL Entertainment loved working with The J.M. Smucker Company (JMS) and Publicis Groupe on the Lil Jif Project. BCL Entertainment was the talent producer for the campaign, and being able to partner Ludacris and Gunna with Jif was incredible and unique on so many levels. First and foremost, the project brings rappers from different generations together, bonded by their mutual love of an iconic brand. The hilarious commercial is centered around an original song that Ludacris wrote and then recorded with a mouthful of peanut butter.
The song was also released on all DSPs (digital service providers) as well as TikTok, where the campaign inspired one of the most-watched branded duet challenges ever in the history of the platform, with over 7 billion cumulative views to date. Icebox created a limited edition necklace for Ludacris to wear, keeping the hilarity and boldness of the campaign visible across all social media platforms. There was also the Boys & Girls Club charitable endeavor on behalf of JMS and Ludacris, focusing on bringing music education programs into the Boys & Girls Clubs of Northeast Ohio (home of JMS) and supporting Boys & Girls Clubs in Atlanta (home of Ludacris). While each component was essential, the sum of all parts coming together cohesively was key.
Someone else's project that you admired recently.
I am fortunate to be surrounded by so many smart and creative friends, colleagues, talent and companies who work on beyond-impressive projects each and every day. For charitable endeavors, Room to Read is an organization I admire. Their work in children's literacy and girls' education across Asia and Africa is impressive and impactful. Otherwise, first thoughts when being asked this question. One, I love Tom Brady's custom social content as well as some of his commercials (Hertz and FTX as of recent, T-Mobile earlier this year). Two, Jason Derulo's TikTok content. It is all so beyond creative. And three, Snoop and Martha for Bic. Anything with Snoop and Martha, really.
How musicians should approach working with brands.
Authentically. The best partnerships are those where the musician/talent is genuinely excited about working with the brand because of a true love for the brand.
How brands should approach working with musicians.
Again, authentically. In both cases, a partnership or endorsement of any kind should not be forced. The brand should be thrilled to have the musician/talent representing it. If you can authentically match a musician/talent with a brand, the rest is simple.
What music can do that nothing else can.
Music can transform a mood, a room, an event, an experience. Music can bring you back to a certain period of time that may be otherwise challenging to recall. Music can bring together people from all across the world, who may not speak the same language yet can sing the same song. Music is powerful.
What you'd be doing if you weren't in the music world.
Figuring out how to work in the music world.
Liner Notes is our weekly interview series, publishing every Monday, where we chat with folks in the music industry about their creative inspirations, their favorite bands and musicians, and generally what music means to them. For more about Liner Notes, and our Clio Music program, please get in touch.