The best of the best in the entertainment is always showcased and put up on a pedestal. The public is constantly updated on what the celebrities are up to, whether it be in their professional or personal lives, the media ensures not to stray too far behind. However, rarely do we see the factor behind the famous faces, the ones who are the reasons why these “idols” are recognized. In order for these stars to climb the ladder of success and remain there, they MUST brand themselves, and in order to create a niche for yourself you need an effective marketing strategy and pitch to make people want to tune in to what you have to offer.
The Marketing Insomniac, also known as Cool V “Mr. Official Whistle”, has been helping entertainment professionals establish themselves within the industry for over 20 years. He started working for record labels as a college interns for major names, which include Def Jam, Interscope, Jive, Warner Bros, Luke Records, VP Records and Bad Boy Records. He was not an overnight success and worked hard to get to higher positions. He recently worked as the Canadian Marketing Director at Barak Records, the label that discovered Slum Village, J Dilla, Dwella and BR Gunna.
To accumulate to his experience working with record executives, he was also assigned as a college intern working with major radio stations as a street team promoter, DJ, programmer, station manager and account executive. As if he is not already well established in the entertainment industry, Cool V also has television skills under his belt where he worked as an account executive by creating commercials, generating sales, and the marketing and promotions of new shows.
This seasoned professional has quite a resume. Not only does he have extensive experience in the radio and television industries, but he is an acclaimed writer as well. He has worked for a variety of magazines and blogs where he submitted music reviews. Being talented in so many areas sometimes clouds a person’s interest in deciding what they really want to and are meant to do. However, Mr. Official Whistle knew his niche and passion was in marketing.
“I started focusing on marketing consultation and promotions in 1992. That’s when it became my specialty and since then I have worked for various artists, brands and companies assisting my clients by creating innovative ways for them to break their brands to consumers in various markets. I guess I would have to say that I seriously started being independent since 1991 because that is when things really took off for me and I had really starting to make my mark and building a name for myself in the industry.”
Obviously for most, they don’t wake up as a kid and know immediately what they will be when they are of a certain age. Dreams and goals change as we mature, and experience different things in life. For The Marketing Insomniac, he started in marketing while he was in college. He has always had a knack for it, but never knew what it he was doing. As many do, the marketing mogul started off with the talent in high school, and noticed the difference when he started promoting and packing out night clubs and throwing high school events that accumulated over 2,000 people. During this time this was seen as a hobby.
“I discovered I had talent, which I owe to my marketing professor Dr. Kelly who stopped me one day in school and told me I had so much potential and what he saw in me. He said to me, “You have so much talent, but you’re wasting it! While others are studying their butts off you’re just coming in still hungover from the parties you throw, and don’t lie my students be talking about events you throw before class starts. But seriously you are not giving me your best. You are just here and you don’t study and your getting 80’s and sometimes 90’s imagine if you applied yourself?”
I asked him what did he mean and he responded, “I know when a student studies or just wings it, and that’s what you been doing. You’re marketing all the time, you just don’t know it whether its for a club here at school, the newspaper or an event you’re throwing, or if you’re selling at work, its all branding. Hell, even the way you dress. Your style and you being you. You love branding!” That for me was my eye opening moment and I have never looked back it’s been my passion ever since!
Cool V’s passion for marketing comes from his passion in music. Although he gets tired with the politics in the industry, he enjoys what he does. He states that it is not the same any more and it can become redundant, but that if you love music it will always call you.
I can do without all the business of music. I just can’t live without my M&M’s ( Music and Marketing).
The marketer established his role in the industry though his job as working as a deejay and wanting the world to hear the talent that he possessed. His goal is to be a game changer by leaving a mark in the industry to always be that guy for people when they want to know who is the next big thing out there.
Mr. Official Whistle loves creating new lanes and showcasing hot new talent. He was behind branding the world’s first music search engine, DJ Pulse; the world’s first AVD audio visual DVD magazine, The Underwire Magazine; and marketing the world’s first video mix DVDs, All Mixed Up DVD. He has also worked with VP Records in dropping one of the first visual dance hall complications and model magazines.
No matter what it is I like to be on the cutting edge of things branding hot new products.
By now some are probably wondering where this unique, and amazing man came up with his personas. First being Cool V. The “V” is shirt for “Vibez“, which he believes the universe runs off of vibrations and is how we perceive people, and what makes sound. His tag “The Industry Insomniac” is the phrase that he received because of his crazy work ethic and hours that he chooses to work. He has clients in different areas of the Globe which keeps him up busy and working to fulfill each person’s needs.
“I have a couple of branding tags I go by. The most noted is, “It Ain’t Official Unless You Hear The Whistle”! That tag comes from a habit. I have a unique whistle I do when I think something is fly. I also have an unofficial whistle and by doing this it was something unique that made me stand out and made people remember me from radio and interacting with me in person. People across the globe started remembering me by it and imitating it so much it became popular in the industry and the rest is history.”
Now that everyone is pretty familiar with the background information on Cool V, here are a few question and answers to dig deeper into who this individual is and why you should know him.
Word in the music industry is you are the go to guy, the Marketing Insomniac. What is your input on this huge title that you carry? What makes you stand out from the rest and as a note-able resource to the music industry?
Wow that’s huge! I’m honored, but honestly there are a ton of people who work their asses off to push all these recognizable brands we see today; for instance, if it wasn’t for my PR representative Juel’s of Rome this interview wouldn’t be possible. She keeps me out there, as well as my manager Margaret McDonald,and my teams (I hate the word staff) #TRN #JOR #DOND #RNR and all my affiliates and supporters THEY are what makes me. I am NOTHING without em, all the DJ’s, the artists, models and radio listeners and supporters they made me relatable.
I feel nowadays too many people name drop and toot their own horn, I say let the public decide. I am blessed that people view me as such, but honestly I just want to be remembered as someone who cared, loved people and had a passion for my craft such as Curtis Mayfield, J Dilla, Michael Jackson, Paul Walker, Justo Faison, Renardo Jammerson and all the unsung heroes who left a mark in this industry.
What makes me stand apart? It’s simple. I could go on and on speaking about my love or passion for music and marketing, but I would have to say my heart. I genuinely care. To me it’s NOT about the money because if you love what you do and focus on that, it will come and it shows people that you have a sincere interest in them or you’re just BS’n them. So I do not take on any projects I don’t believe in because if I can’t sell it to myself, how can I sell it to the public? Also, I will say because I am a deejay, love music and love marketing! My take on things will be unique to my personality and I think that is what defines me and makes all the difference it may sound “corny”, but it goes back to my heart, I believe you truly achieve what “YOU” believe!
They Call you Mr. Official Whistle, please give us some insight of the meaning and why so many celebrities use the phrase in there music and or slogans. And please give us a few example we can document at least three.
Haha I somehow knew that would be a question. I got that tag because I would blog or every time I made a prediction and gave it the official whistle its somehow came true. For instance, here were a few of my predictions: Biggie Smalls, Big L, Jay Z, Kanye West, Foxy Brown, Tupac, Luke, Adina Howard, Mary J, Alicia Keys, Erykah Badu, Jill Scott, Dwelle, Glasses Malone, Nipsey Hussle, Black Moon, Nicki Manaj, TI, Big Pun, Sean Kingston, B.O.B., Mims, Stevie Stone, Tech Nine, Big Sean, 2 Chainz, Kriss Kross, Onyx, DMX, Shabba Ranks, Drake, Patra, Beenie Man, Keri Hilson, and K. Michelle. I predicted all of these artists would blow and you see where they are at and what they achieved.
Who is your most note-able person in the industry you feel the world should recognize? And why?
That’s a tough question there are many slept on artists. If we are saying past there are many, but I would have to say Justo Faisonbecause he created the worlds first award show for deejays to help us become a brand and revived us when the industry was trying to replace DJs with Dat Players and dancers. For those who are old enough they will remember just what I am speaking on. He also helped introduce the world labels to the importance of the mixtape. He honored and showcased DJs which include Craig G, DJ Clue, Ron G, DJ Juice, Dirty Harry, The Infamous Backspin, Green Lantern and several others.
As for present day, I would have to say my artist Tam Tam because the world needs more female MC’s! I love Nicki Manaj, but I feel there is a double standard for women emcees and the industry has a lot to do with the way a female is perceived in it. There are a lot of slept on female artists from “Tam Tam” to “Kanary Diamonds” to “Snow” to “Shire”, my GOD that woman can sing its way to many to name, but those are the few that comes to mind.
I have worked with many talented artists and I can’t forget “Jimmy Reign” from the bay or my girl ‘Stori” these divas are HOT!! In short I feel there are a lot of talented artists but if you don’t have the right budget, practice good business ethics or have the right drive then your project is D.O.A (dead on arrival) sad but true.
What are your most memorable highlights in the marketing or just in the music industry?
Wow there has been quite a few! One of my biggest was being part of the worlds first music search engine DJ Pulse, which could have NEVER been possible if my partner Craig Carpenter also known as DJ Drastik (Who also worked on visuals of the movie Toy Story), the Teckie, who brought my vision to life. Thank you bro for helping us create history I am forever grateful.
Being featured in Rap Sheet Magazine and Rap City as one of the hottest college radio shows. Most recently getting a interview on Soul Train ( A Dream Come True). I had a deep interview by Joe Walker where I was open, honest and sincere which I try to be all the time. Of course my other highlights are meeting and working with some amazing people.
I Thank you GOD for blessing me to meet 2 Pac! Thank You Pac for your sincere heart and passion for the game! Biggie for being such a cool person, Buckshot for dropping some serious knowledge, KRS1 and Hakeem from Channel Live for being the realest and to EVERYONE!
I have met so many wonderful people on this journey, it’s way too many highlights and I can’t just narrow it down to one because they was all special to me also Da Brat and Queen Latifah for being so real down to earth and funny; Adina Howard, Aaliyah, Patra and Sweet Sable for being so sweet. But I would have to say one of my biggest highlights was meeting DJ Jam Master Jay, Chuck Chillout and Grandmaster Flash. I idolized these cats growing up and to meet them and interact with legends like J Dilla is a dream come true. This has truly been a great ride!
From what we have learned, you can project success of the NEXT celebrity or talent.. What are the things that you take from a client to project their success? What advice do you give to one who is working on their success as NEXT?
Great question! It is a number of things that can help ensure a persons success. The first thing is their passion, drive and dedication to their craft. The time, money and energy they put into it. The way they interact with their public, do they thank the people that show them love support or assist in their careers? Do they interact with their fans on a daily basis? Do they come up with innovative marketing strategies to stand out? Do they do their research to build relationships with co-workers, competitive brands and affiliates?
For example, I will use B.O.B’s early days. When he came out he had a campaign called “WHO IS B.O.B?” This immediately drew attention, but he didn’t stop there. He hopped on a ton of mixtapes, blog sites, independent and college radio shows and a record pool of conference calls. He also talked to his audience on Myspace, Facebook and Twitter. He left no stone unturned but the crowning act’s he did was when he showcased himself at local nightclubs and used Youtube to catch his performance and the audience’s reaction.
My advice is to first always stay loyal to your team, supporters and fans first! Second if YOU don’t invest time, money, and energy into your brand why should anyone else? Last but not least, there are NO OFF DAYS for an upcoming brand! You never know when an opportunity will knock, so always be prepared and on your best behavior. No matter what field you are in, DO YOUR RESEARCH!!! That is the reason why many fail they don’t know who they are speaking to and this industry is small you never know, so don’t burn bridges!
Who is your biggest note-able client to date?
All my clients are one thing, what I don’t do is put one or value one over the other. It’s bad business, but I would say VP Records is most notable because most Americans were not into Dancehall and Reggae unless it was commercial. That company made their brands a household name and now has a monopoly on the Reggae Industry, as for artists or particular brands, too many to name.
What are your current projects? and Who is your biggest client today?
My current projects are of course The Rated Next Brand, a promotional branding company comprised of talented individuals and innovative brands across the globe. We specialize in marketing, promotions, breaking talent, technology and the latest trends. We also have the Rated Next Radio Network, consisting of hot radio dee jays across the globe, including CDog, DJ Flawless, DJ Tony Tec, DJ Wizz, DJ Ace, DJ Rowgee, DJ Marley Marl, Dj Jess, DJ Spark and a list of others across the globe that are dedicated to reporting and breaking new music.
Divas On Deck a modeling networking group, where casting agents, agencies, models, photographers, stylists, designers and fashion bloggers alike come and share information and support each others brands.
As for artists, too many to name and I dont want to forget no one. As for my biggest artist to TODAY, hmm that’s a tough one because I don’t just brand music and again all my clients are amazing. I like to tell you who’s next artists like “SNOW” this girl is a beast and on her way she may be the next artist on Tech Nines label, look out for her. Tam Tam, she was the first female signed to the same label Gucci Mane is on, Big Cat Records. She has style, flo and delivery, but most of all a serious grind and the DJs love her. I already told you about Kendrick Lamar, and he’s arrived.
So I will say that B-Girl Terra, an amazing 6-year-old break dancer, is one to look out for. The model glamor and fitness, Yves Nunez also known as She Hulk, as well as fitness model Andrea Calhoun, are upcoming. My next prediction is this all female group called The Jazmin Sisters, these girls can SANG! I haven’t heard a group sing like them since SWV. They bring back soul, but whats crazy is they are all sisters and are Asian. Trust me they are on their way, and my girl Stori, she’s banana’s. In this business it’s hard to sometimes tell because they can have all the talent in the world, but without the right marketing and support that equals a flatline.
What is your motto you live by in the industry?
One of my biggest mottos is L.A.E, which is short for loyalty above EVERYTHING. That means be loyal to first of all GOD because without him you wouldn’t have a talent, idea or concept; next is your craft and your team (family); your supporters and fans; and most of all YOURSELF. In all you do BE YOU!! Change the industry don’t let it change you! #Realtalk
Are you taking new clients? Where can they inquire?
Always that is my passion and I love helping people. For Services they can go to www.surveymonkey.com/s/NKVBZV8 and fill out the business inquiry form. This form is so I can get to know more information about their brand and develop a custom plan to assist them. Neither my team or I do cookie cutter packages. We work as a unit but we must know about who YOU are to represent and also believe in that product or brand, so I can sell it to the public. What I am not sold on its like trying to sell some food you ate that you know is awful. Your drive and passion would be on zero!
Follow Cool V on Twitter @coolvsratednext, Instagram at @mrofficialwhistle, Facebook and visit his website www.coolvsratednext.blogspot.com.