Thursday, January 4, 2024

Marketing News of the Week: Snoop Dogg, Year of the Dragon, and Steamboat Willie


Once the ball dropped in Times Square, the new year of marketing news was off and running. Although recent marketing announcements were newsworthy due to their annual end-of-the-year timing: the Pantone color company announced its "Color of the Year for 2024" and TIME Magazine announced its "Person of the Year for 2023," this week's marketing news reflected the strength of personal branding, marketing campaigns based on product imagery, and brand storytelling.

Are you familiar with the rapper known as Snoop Dogg? He has evolved his personal brand from a hip-hop icon to Martha Stewart TV show pal to this week, a "special correspondent" for the upcoming 2024 Summer Olympics from July 26 through August 11 in Paris, France. He will provide his distinctive perspective on the competitions, interview athletes, and also visit historical landmarks.

Snoop explained, "It's going to be the most epic Olympics ever, so stay tuned. Let's elevate, celebrate, and make these games unforgettable, smoke the competition, and may the best shine like gold. Peace and Olympic LOVE, ya dig?"

According to Huffington Post, "Snoop has undergone a transition over the years from 1990s gangsta rapper to a family-friendly face who has co-starred in a variety show with Martha Stewart, made his own cereal, and partnered with dozens of recognizable brands."

According to Molly Solomon, President of NBC Olympics Production, "We don't know what the heck is going to happen every day, but we know Snoop will add his unique perspective to our reimagined Olympic primetime show."

Did this announcement surprise you? It speaks to the power of personal branding and the evolution of Snoop's personal brand.


The Lunar New Year will officially begin in February, but the "year of the dragon" has already begun to appear on products. Harney & Sons tea features the dragon on a special tea tin; Levi's Year of the Dragon collection includes denim tops and bottoms branded with a special red tab on the pocket and a custom leather back patch featuring dragon artwork and gold lettering; Piaget's Lunar New Year collection pays homage to the dragon; Tag Heuer released two limited-edition watches in celebration of the Lunar New Year; Swatch unveiled a year of the dragon watch; and the bakery/cafe Paris Baguette is rolling out a three-dimensional cake in the likeness of a dragon.

Will your brand add a dragon to your product packaging, marketing communications, or logo?


Effective January 1, 2024, an early version of the Walt Disney Company's internally-recognized mascot, Mickey Mouse, that was featured in the 1928 short film, "Steamboat Willie," entered the public domain for the first time.

According to CNN, "The good-humored rodent, which has been synonymous with the Disney brand for nearly a century, has grown into one of the most iconic characters in American pop culture. But since U.S. copyright law, last updated by Congress in 1998, allows copyright to be held for 95 years, Disney’s sole claim to the character has officially ended. A Disney spokesperson explained to CNN, 'More modern versions of Mickey will remain unaffected by the expiration of the Steamboat Willie copyright, and Mickey will continue to play a leading role as a global ambassador for the Walt Disney Company in our storytelling, theme park attractions, and merchandise.'"

Unfortunately, as a result, at least two horror films featuring Steamboat Willie were announced. We'll see what Disney does if/when they are released.

What other marketing news stood out to you this week?

What will be the marketing buzz next week? Tune in to read all about it.

Image Credits: Gilbert Flores/Variety via Getty Images (Snoop),, and LMPC via Getty Images (Steamboat Willie/Mickey Mouse 1928).

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