Hamburger Helper successfully used Hip Hop to market their brand through the Watch The Stove mixtape in late March. Equally self-aware and catchy, the project was an interesting case study in how to utilize the culture correctly.
Though the brand has been around since 1994, one could call this a mainstream breakout moment. According to CEO James “Fly” Lindsay in an interview with HipHopDX over the phone, Rap Snacks has some interesting plans for capitalizing on the craze, including a commercial release of the single.
“Yes and we have a commercial that’s really funny and [the commercial single]’s going to be released with it along with merchandise,” said Lindsay.
“I told them that this is a $45 billion yearly market and African Americans own less than one percent of businesses,” Lindsay explained of getting Migos on board with the new marketing campaign. “We eat snacks every day and they love your brand. The product is better than anything else on the market. Everything I’ve done has always been about being different. That’s how we came up with Sour Cream and a Dab of Ranch. We just say it like that because that’s what it is.”
Though the brand has historically been placed in 26 cities around the United States, Rap Snacks never reached mainstream outlets due to distribution and expensive manufacturing processes.
“Frito-Lay 85 percent of the business from a distribution standpoint,” said Lindsay. “So, I’m able to get in markets where they have other options besides Frito-Lay. From Denver to the West Coast, it’s all Frito-Lay. It’s not even a lot of independent distributors who I can go through to sell there. What I’m doing is going through companies like 7-11 where I can get into those marketplaces or mom-and-pop stores. It’s a process that takes a little time.”
“They’re my partners,” he said. “Everything is 50/50. I don’t just give them bags. I make them partners in the brand for their items. I believe in equity and not just getting a check or endorsements.”
When Lindsay wasn’t pushing delectable potato chips, he also played the background in the music industry as a brand manager for artists like Master P and Meek Mill.
“I connect brands with corporate America,” he said. “I got Meek Mill his Puma deal and the 24K Headphones for him. The music is important, but outside of that is where you make the money at especially where you expand your brand. That’s what I do. I’ve been doing that for a long time.”
With interest in Rap Snacks at an all-time high, there are already plans for more flavors and collaborations. More recently, one featuring Boosie Badazz was announced on their Instagram page.
“I have collaborations with a lot of artists coming up and real big artist,” said Lindsey. “Just look at Rap Snacks like how Dr. Dre did with Beats. When it starts catching fire, none of these other companies are going to be able to compete. It’s just not going to work. They’re not going to want to deal with what comes with that.”