As our culture has become more and more celebrity driven, I have learned that while celebrities have a tremendous amount of power and pull in our society it is the “faceless influencers” that 99% of Americans would have no idea who they were if they were sitting across from them on a subway who are driving America’s youth and young adult culture. These individuals reach the vital young adult demographic that every brand talks about reaching but often falls short of truly understanding. It is the “faceless influencers” that do not necessary share in the spotlight of some of the individuals they promote or the products they create but are shifting the youth cultural landscape in America.
This is one of the reasons I spent more time with people like Marc Packard and Marc Ecko at Sundance than I did with Josh Hartnett or Sienna Miller.
We have been able to work with many of these individuals and I feel that 5WPR understands the youth and young adult marketplace better than anyone else in our industry does and that is why we have had success particular in the youth marketing arena.
So who are some of these these individuals?
Mark Ecko, Founder Mark Ecko Enterprises: Mark is the guy who has millions of kids in America wearing his name on their backs (think about how many kids have a LeBron James jersey or a Dwyane Wade jersey and multiply it by thousands… it’s a staggering figure) but few recognize his face. From starting out as a graffiti writer to becoming the preeminent brand of hip-hop fashion and culture Mark Ecko shapes more young hearts and minds than any of the artists who appear in his clothes or on the cover of his magazine (Complex). Truly a mind-molding individual
Frank Luntz, CEO The Luntz Research Companies: I have known Frank for years and when it comes to politics and issues that shape the hearts and minds of millions of American, there is no one on the front lines who is more in tune like Frank. Beyond working with political leaders like Newt Gingrich– major brands like General Motors, FedEx, Disney and American Express all turn to Frank to better understand their consumers. Frank has an uncanny ability to translate polling data into actionable results for companies and is truly one of the major opinion shifters in America today.
Kevin Liles, Executive Vice President of Warner Music Group: Before he published his book “Make It Happen: The Hip-Hop Generation’s Guide To Success”, Kevin Liles name only rang out the liner notes from some of the many artists (Ludacris, DMX, Jay-Z) who’s career he help launched. But Kevin’s name has never been a secret to Corporate America… The kids playing the Electronic Arts/Def Jam video games might not know the name Kevin Liles but he helped bringing hip-hop to the video game sector and in turn combine two of the largest cultural influencers in America. We have been lucky enough to work with Kevin on several projects and he truly is one of the key influencers in American pop culture.
These are just a few of the individuals out there that I really think are shaping American culture today, but for the most part are fairly unknown. Brands spend billions trying to reach the young adult demographic with pie charts and graphs while in actuality individuals like Mark, Frank and Kevin understand the marketplace simply through their insights and experiences. Because of our young staff and the many young entrepreneurs we get a chance to work with, I feel that 5W PR as an entity belongs on this list and we should be the agency of choice for brands looking to understand this demographic. Clients turn to us to give them the insight that many others simply are too far removed from to accurately translate.
Here’s some of the other “faceless influencers” out there in my opinion.. there’s tons more but here are some who I think are driving our culture but aren’t necessarily out front and center like many celebrities.