Kanye’s Marketing Masterclass


Last Sunday, while millions of people were focused on the Super Bowl, Travis Kelce, and Taylor Swift, us digital marketing freaks had our heads turned by none other than Chicago’s very own, Kanye West. After dropping a hefty $7 million on a Super Bowl ad to promote his latest Yeezy drop alongside his new album “Vultures,” Kanye took to X to share his end-of-the-day marketing report. And let’s be honest, we were all impressed.

Kanye’s Super Bowl play was a masterclass in advertising, so if you weren’t paying attention, let us break it down for you.

Strategic Spending: Getting Bang for Your Buck

Seven million dollars for a 30-second spot might sound insane, but Super Bowl ads have cost well over a million since 1995. Ads in 2021 were a meager $5.5M, jumping to $7M+ in 2023. However, the price of the ad itself is only the tip of the iceberg in terms of costs. When you consider celebrity cameos, crazy stunts, cinematics, and more, most Super Bowl commercials we see have astronomical production costs. (We’re looking at you Dunkin’ Donuts—we know J-Lo and Batman ain’t cheap.) But Kanye’s budget for his commercial? Zero dollars.

That isn’t shocking when you watch the commercial, which is just a poorly lit phone video straight from Kanye. But the low production value did more than cut costs for Yeezy; it actually made his ad stand out from the crowd and had some of us wondering if someone accidentally connected their FaceTime call to the TV.

Still, Kanye and most of the brands you see during the Super Bowl, weren’t playing small. However, not all were playing smart, or certainly not as smart as Ye.

With nearly 300,000 orders and an insanely high conversion rate of 6.56%, Kanye made a nice $19.3 million in sales. Even better than that, everything on the site was pre-order, allowing him to only put up the money for exactly as much inventory as he needs and allowing him to maintain his “limited-edition” brand perception even at a shockingly low price point for his products.

Price Drops and Brand Loyalty

Speaking of low price points, let’s talk about how Kanye slashed the price of his YZY Pods (new shoe) from $200 to $20, making the shoes the same price of everything else on his website (except his “Vultures” vinyl which remained at $40).

Not only that, but people who bought the Pods at the original $200 price point are getting a refund for the difference. Without missing a beat, Kanye is already nurturing his existing customers and likely guaranteeing that most of them will return. Plus, he now knows who is willing to spend $200 on a drop.

If it’s not already obvious, the lower price point, at least when compared to his usual price range, worked wonders. Remember that crazy 6.56% conversion rate? People went crazy for Yeezy, and even people who wouldn’t usually buy from the brand became customers. (Insert metaphor about vultures here.)

Dropping the price of everything on his site to just $20 seems like a huge risk, but remember, this is pre-order. It’s also Kanye, so taking a risk like that doesn’t burn a hole in his wallet like it might for other brands. That being said, it’s not as big of a risk as it seems. Making more sales, even at a slight loss on the production costs, comes with a lot more benefits than meet the eye. And when we say “benefits” we really mean data.

Reading the Room: Understanding Your Audience

Here’s where Kanye really showed his marketing chops. With over 4 million users hitting up his website in just one day, we can safely assume he has gathered a ton of valuable data about his clients from Google Analytics. With this data, Kanye now knows exactly what his people want and where they’re at, and he can use that information to keep them coming back.

And don’t forget those 294,357 orders. Not only does he know exactly where these people are, he also has their contact info for direct marketing campaigns using email and SMS.

Borrowing from Kanye’s Playbook

Now, I know what you’re thinking—how can I pull off a marketing move like Kanye without his bankroll, or his notoriety. Surprisingly, a lot of these tactics can be implemented on a much smaller scale, according to your unique budget. Here are some things we can take from Kanye and use in our own marketing plans.

Smart Spending:

You might not have Kanye’s cash, but you can still make waves within your budget. Get creative, prioritize wisely, and make every dollar count.

Irresistible Offers:

Craft offers that your audience can’t say no to. Whether it’s a killer discount or an exclusive deal, give ’em something they can’t resist.

Data is King:

Dive into your analytics, get to know your audience inside out, and tailor your marketing to speak directly to them.

Build Relationships:

People often see advertising as a way to get sales—which it does—but it is also extremely valuable in gaining audience insights. Try a strategy that is less focused on sales and more focused on people. Sales will naturally follow. Once you have them, treat your customers like gold. Keep ’em engaged, show ’em some love, and watch as they become your biggest fans.

It’s About the Movement:

Remember, marketing isn’t just about making sales—it’s about building a community. Keep the conversation going, keep the excitement alive, and watch your brand soar.

In the world of marketing, Kanye’s $7 million Super Bowl ad isn’t just a flex—it’s a lesson in hustle and strategy. So take some notes, get out there, and make some noise.

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      Fortress is a fast-growing digital marketing and branding agency headquartered in Chicago that has worked with clients ranging from global corporations like Nike, Jordan, All-State, Acura, athletes, and celebrities like Kevin Hart, Steph Curry, prestigious universities, startups, and everyone in between. We believe in putting family first, being team players, staying humble, and being obsessed with our clients’ success. We provide a unique and energetic culture that fosters creativity and camaraderie.

      We’re currently seeking a full-time Senior Designer to join the team and work out of our Chicago, IL office. The right person for this position sees the bigger picture while remaining passionate about the details.

      You’re knowledgeable and skilled in Web, Branding, large-scale marketing campaigns, and more. You’re a jack of all trades in creative software, but you also have a passion for design beyond the screen. You understand that great design is in the nuance—that subtle cultural references should be woven into the things you create and every project should be approached with the end-user at the center of it. You love working on a team with diverse perspectives and you’re willing to learn from as well as build up those around you. At the core, you’re a problem solver with a knack for making things look good.


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