Why DraftKings Is Embedding Its Brand in Original Rap Songs
In a freaky, futuristic video created with DraftKings for his latest single, Harlem rapper Dave East labors in a lab with mutants and aliens to build a bionic hoops player.
Streetball legend "The Professor," aka Grayson Scott Boucher, takes a starring role in "Bet It," as East ignites a slow-burn groove, tracing his rise and name-dropping DK.
"If you wan' bet it,
Come with some cash and some credit,
She gon' pull up 'cause I said it.
I got a fetish for pickin' up paper whenever.
Look in they face, see they jealous
We gon' get money
Don't care if they look at me funny
Remember them times I was hungry
I'm far from a dummy,
I got the game tatted all on my stomach
I ain't got time to count nothin' buy hundreds
...Lately I feel like a Draft King
You do not know what this cash bring."
"Bet It" marks the final installment in a three-part hip-hop series from VaynerMedia designed to broaden DK's appeal among music and sports fans. Roundball plays into each clip, a reminder of DraftKings' status as the official betting partner of the NBA.
"At a time when consumer attention spans are increasingly fleeting, we wanted to explore fresh ways beyond standard advertising to authentically connect our brand with audiences," Stephanie Sherman, DK's CMO, tells Muse.
"Embedding DraftKings within original music gave us the chance to prioritize quality content and entertainment," she says. "Doing so creates organic opportunities for the songs to gain traction, as we saw with Fresco Trey's 'DraftKings' track that was added to the NBA 2K22 song catalog."
"Being able to collaborate with DraftKings is one of the highlights of my early music career," says Trey. "It was awesome to be able to shoot such a high-budget/high-value video in my hometown of Memphis. My entire family came out to the shoot, and the atmosphere that day was electric."
He adds: "Before I made the track, [VaynerMedia execs] Mike Boyd, Gary Vaynerchuk and I had a quick Zoom call to discuss ideas. Once I got in the studio, I just decided to have fun with it. That chill process produced some fun vibes."
In the song, he boasts:
"Hit up DraftKings.
I bet a hunnid on myself.
I been all alone, ain't never need nobody else.
I'm at the top floor,
Sipping margaritas off the shelf.
Wish I had some competition, but it ain't nobody else."
"Draft King" by Polo Perks kicked off the series last fall:
At one point, he brags: "I get lots of guap ... this shit be everlasting ... All this guap on me, that's why my denim saggin'."
Sounds like DraftKings paid off for Polo. Still, detractors worry that some who wager could wind up with empty pockets. Their concern grows as legal sports gambling drives deeper into the mainstream through advertising that seeks to expand its market.
All told, the three clips have generated more than 10 million combined views, mainly on YouTube and TikTok, with numbers boosted by sharing across the artists' platforms and channels.
Other DK efforts in a similar vein—mining pop culture, though sans music—include its NFL push with Martin Lawrence and Jerry Rice. Last summer, the brand ran jokey extreme-sports ads during regional breaks in NBC's coverage of the Tokyo Olympics.
Mike Boyd: Head of Artist Relations & Music Strategy
Kyle Arango: Group Creative Director
Joseph Leotta: Vice President, Group Account Director
Maya Brewster: Executive Producer
Mat Holis: Executive Producer:
Laura Shea: Executive Producer
Lil Polo Tee: Artist
Reel Goats: Director
Matt Kalish: President, DraftKings N.A. and Co-Founder
Stephanie Sherman: Chief Marketing Officer, DraftKings
Michael Shonkoff: VP, Brand, DraftKings
Andrew Schiel: Senior Brand Marketing Manager, DraftKings