The Advertising Behind “The Weeknd”

The Weeknd has grown to be quite famous worldwide, with his new album, Starboy, breaking multiple records and topping charts. Learn more about his journey and how he became so successful with minimal advertising.


With “Starboy” becoming number 1 on charts in over 80 countries in less than 24 hours, it is safe to say that The Weeknd is back with another album with at least three songs on your playlist.  Abel Tesafey has won a total of 42 awards from 137 nominations – all in a span of 6 years. But how did Tesafey develop a strong personal brand in a hit-or-miss industry? Rather than focusing on traditional forms of advertising, the Weeknd used his personal brand strategically to grow his fan base astronomically.  It might actually shock you that the Weeknd’s first daytime appearance was only a few days ago on the Ellen Degeneres show.


“You mean ‘The Weekend’?”

When you first heard of The Weeknd, you probably spelt his stage name incorrectly…with the correct spelling of the word itself. At the beginning of his career in 2010, he posted tracks from his mix tapes without revealing his identity. On Reddit, he revealed that his stage name was created after running away from home with a friend one weekend once he dropped out of high school.  Combined with his dark and mysterious lyricism, fans were intrigued by The Weeknd’s personality and his smooth R&B vocals.


The Iconic Hair

The Weeknd was able to differentiate himself from other artists with not only his voice, but with his hairstyle as well.  Tesafey believed that if “[he] cut his hair, [he’d] look like everyone else. And that [was] just so boring to [him]”. His hair became a major part of his personal brand and has trended on Twitter and on Facebook a few times throughout his career.   Needless to say, his fans were quite shocked when the “Starboy” cover was unveiled.


He Declines Most of his Interviews

It is rare for The Weeknd to answer personal questions that could be used as bait on the cover of magazines. During his breakthrough, the Weeknd refused to meet with interviewers and would only give superficial responses via Twitter. Tesafey even admitted that his career is “going to be so long because I haven’t given people everything”.


An R&B Icon from Toronto

Regardless of where he is, Tesafey will always be a boy from Scarborough chasing after his dreams while overcoming obstacles alongside his immigrant mother. This year, he donated $50,000 towards an Ethiopic Studies program at the University of Toronto – a clear indicator that you can take a boy out of Toronto, but you can’t take the Toronto out of a boy.


By Vaisnavy Sivayoganathan


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Clive Owen is Back in the Driver’s Seat…

Can you keep up with The Escape? 15 years since BMW Films and Fallon released “The Hire,” a series of eight original short films that helped branded entertainment, with help from a menagerie of A-list stars and directors.

Clive Owen is Back in the Driver’s Seat as BMW Films Return After 15 Years


BMW has dropped a new film series “The Escape” – featuring Clive Owen and Dakota Fanning! The thrilling 13-minute commercial featured the All-New 2017 BMW 5 series through a well orientated plot and fast paced action.

BMW Films began in 2001, “The Hire” was the first series of eight ground-breaking online short films starring Clive Owen as an enigmatic driver for hire. Each film was a unique story! In “The Escape”, the Driver (Clive Owen) saves the last living clone, a young woman named Lily (Dakota Fanning) through his extraordinary and mettle driving skills.

Nonetheless, the new BMW film is a piece of art that is beautifully crafted to not only tell a wonderful plot but showcased BMW’s brand exceptionally. The film was able to showcase BMW’s luxurious new series and glorified its brand of sophistication and perfectionism in quality, image and luxury.

So far, online comments are fascinated with the new film. People are excited to see BMW bringing back their old tradition and can’t wait for more!

“We do not make cars.

We are the creators of emotion.

We are the keepers of thrill

We are the guardians of one three-letter word.

JOY.”   – BMW. The Ultimate Driving Machine.


Youtube Link to the Ad:


By: Queena Zeng

NFL Bans Adidas’ Yeezy Cleats


Adidas and Kanye West release Yeezy cleats, entering the world of sports, expanding themselves from streetwear fashion. Read more about why the NFL has banned these cleats, although they were made with technology that allowed professional athletes to wear during games. Find out if it was just an advertising stunt from Adidas.

Kanye West’s Yeezy shoe collaboration with Adidas has always been popular in streetwear fashion, but never in the sports realm. Von Miller, a Super Bowl MVP athlete, recently posted a picture of unreleased 750 Yeezy cleats on his twitter feed, which was so surprising.



Adidas and Kanye West then later released the news to the public, stating that these cleats were meant for professional athletes who could actually where them in actual games. DeAndre Hopkins, of the Houston Texans, wore them to a game in which he ended up winning (pictured on the right), but was unfortunately fined $6000. The NFL rule clearly states that all cleats must be a solid colour, which the Yeezy cleats obviously violate. The NFL player then went on to state that he would continue to wear them if Kanye would pay for his fines each game.

Being the basketball fan that I am, this very situation reminded me of the infamous story of how Michael Jordan wore a pair of Black and Red Nike’s which violated the NBA’s rules. For every game that he wore those shoes, he was fined $5000. It is said that Nike paid for his all his fines.

This brings us back to why it is rumoured that Adidas may step up to pay for the fines of selected players. This not only gives Adidas a good form of advertising, but it is also cost effective because a 30 second ad during an NFL game costs between $300,000 to $700,000. Adidas would only by paying $384,000 in fines and would be getting exposure throughout the entire season across 4 different NFL teams.

Will Adidas end up paying the fines for these players? Is it a sneaky advertising tactic from Adidas? With the NFL season just beginning, we will have to wait to find out whether or not players will continue to wear the Yeezy cleats and advertise them for Adidas, or if Yeezy’s shoes will remain as just a streetwear staple.

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Michael Phelps – Most Shared Olympic Ad

By: Petrina Huang & Queena Zeng

The most decorated Olympian of all time has done it again at this year’s Olympic games in Rio, with five additional gold m
edals and a silver medal to his collection of now 28 Olympic medals in total. See how he teamed up with Under Armour to produce the most shared Olympic Ad of all time.

graph 1

Michael Phelps, the most decorated athlete in Olympic history, finished his career this year at Rio 2016 with 23 gold medals and 28 overall.

He made his Olympic debut in the 2000 Olympic games, but was only well-recognized after his amazing performance in the 2008 Olympics in Beijing. This was just the beginning of when his sponsorships with brands started to pour in.

With his phenomenal swimming career, Phelps collaborated with Under Armour and produced the second most shared Olympics ad for 2016. The platforms it was shared on is presented in the diagram on the right. This ad, titled “Rule Yourself” ultimately became the most shared Olympics spot of all time.

Watch the ad here:

What makes this ad so successful and so sharable?

graph 2Through this ad, Under Armour was able to perfect the “right emotional chord” with its targeted audience of millennial men that are between the ages 18 to 34. It captivated the viewers and caused them to visually engage in the dramatic nature of an Olympic athlete’s intense training; inspiring among 47 percent of overall viewers, and 68 percent of millennial men. The ad ultimately brought all the key emotions such as pride, amazement, happiness, excitement, etc., within a span of one minute and 30 seconds. The diagram on the right displays the top 4 positive emotions.

Under Armour was also able to create consistency in their recent ads, ensuring that they inspire and amaze their audiences. The consistency helps convince the audience that Under Armour is a reputable brand that can be trusted and creates a stronger consumer brand relationship. It was important for Under Armour to understand that they needed to make their ad feel as genuine and authentic as possible. This is because young target audiences easily lose their trust in a brand if an ad feels ‘fake’. It painted hard work and sacrifice through every perfected stroke of Phelps, which brought sense of rawness and realness.

With all in mind, Under Armour created a work of art that did justice amongst the fans of Michael Phelps, and the decorated athlete himself. The diagram on the right displays the success of the ad, as the brand resonated with a majority of the audience. The powerful portrayal of emotions and delicacy of every scene is what lead to the success of Under Armour’s ad.


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