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The Tanning of America

How Hip-Hop Created a Culture That Rewrote the Rules of the New Economy

This book can be downloaded and read in Apple Books on your Mac or iOS device.


The business marketing genius at the forefront of today's entertainment marketing revolution helps corporate America get hip to today's new consumer-the tan generation - by learning from hip-hop and youth culture.

"He is the conduit between corporate America and rap and the streets-he speaks both languages." -Jay-Z

"It's amazing to see the direct impact that black music, videos and the internet have had on culture. I've seen so many people race to the top of pop stardom using the everyday mannerisms of the hood in a pop setting. It's time to embrace this phenomenon because it ain't going nowhere!" -Kanye West

When Fortune 500 companies need to reenergize or reinvent a lagging brand, they call Steve Stoute. In addition to marrying cultural icons with blue-chip marketers (Beyoncé for Tommy Hilfiger's True Star fragrance, and Justin Timberlake for "lovin' it" at McDonald's), Stoute has helped identify and activate a new generation of consumers. He traces how the "tanning" phenomenon raised a generation of black, Hispanic, white, and Asian consumers who have the same "mental complexion" based on shared experiences and values. This consumer is a mindset-not a race or age-that responds to shared values and experiences, rather than the increasingly irrelevant demographic boxes that have been used to a fault by corporate America. And Stoute believes there is a language gap that must be bridged in order to engage the most powerful market force in the history of commerce.

The Tanning of America provides that very translation guide. Drawing from his company's case studies, as well as from extensive interviews with leading figures of multiple fields, Stoute presents an insider's view of how the transcendent power of popular culture is helping reinvigorate and revitalize the American dream. He shows how he bridges the worlds of pop culture, brand consulting, and marketing in his turnkey campaigns offers keen insight into other successful campaigns-including the election of Barack Obama-to illustrate the power of the tan generation, and how to connect with it while staying true to your core brand.

From Publishers Weekly

May 23, 2011 – Stoute, founder of a brand-imaging firm, offers an entertaining, instructive mix of business memoir, music history, and marketing tutorial. He argues that hip-hop blurred "cultural and demographic lines so permanently that it laid the foundation" for the transformation he calls "tanning," a process that would "alter the landscape of America racially, socially, politically, and especially economically." He surveys the early development of hip-hop and the arrival of LL Cool J, "the hip-hop celebrity who gave the marketing world an early tutorial about the value of aligning their brand with the genre." Stoute then moves more fully into the world of commerce, where "advertisers were looking to use the hip-hop Midas touch" but had little understanding of "the consumer they were trying to reach." Stoute's entrepreneurship and expertise in rebranding (e.g., Ray-Ban, Reebok, Modell's) makes absorbing reading. For the uninitiated, this is a sold primer on the business of music; for music historians, it's a solid study of how "how urban culture came to influence the mainstream economy."

Customer Reviews


Steve is my current professor at NYU & this book is amazing

Life Changing

As a college graduate with a marketing degree, a small business franchise owner, a black man and a hip hop enthusiast, this book was so insightful. It's crazy to read about your experiences on paper with respect to tanning. I can vividly remember how Run DMC & LL changed my life. If you are 35-45, this book will feel like a personal memoir.

Thank you Stoute

Thank you for validating our culture, for showing that hip-hop and the culture that has been inspired from it, the kids that have grown with it ... Have influenced fashion, beauty, popular opinions, packaged goods and the way to communicate with each other. Thank you ... Thank you ... Thank you.

Thank you for translating what we've stood for to the world ... To the Fortune 500 companies that couldn't understand. Thank you.

This is a must read.

The Tanning of America
View in iTunes
  • $12.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Marketing & Sales
  • Published: Sep 08, 2011
  • Publisher: Penguin Publishing Group
  • Print Length: 320 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: This book can only be viewed on an iOS device with Apple Books on iOS 12 or later, iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings