99 problems but video ain't one

In midtown Manhattan during the 1970’s, pedestrians clustered around street corners where “not from the neighborhood” kids spun upon flattened cardboard boxes to beats pulsating through gargantuan music boxes.

Street poets (MC’s) chanted their stories over these beats – rhythmic tales of a ghetto life that pulled an unfamiliar audience inside a world from which these young performers sought escape.

This street machine blasted Rap, Hip Hop and its many derivatives into public awareness.

Later, music videos made by young filmmakers brought the raps to life. These graphic depictions of life on the other side of the tracks gripped many viewers – and offended others.

But this was powerful art. For while a rappers’ personal life might be bolted to the walls of the ghetto, their work soared above and beyond them.

In 1986, this video scratched and spun rap to global acceptance.

Rap stars were born.

Adidas sales soared.

And two seemingly disparate cultures were connecting.

From a marketer’s perspective, a 16-year campaign that began with the emergence of rap in 1970 finally paid off.

Keeping it real 

I just want to shoot the hood where I grew up. Like a photographer would shoot it. I want to shoot it brilliant. I want to shoot it like art… Jay-Z.

This documentary details the process, the production and the commitments Jay-Z demanded for the video for his single 99 Problems from his 2004 release, The Black Album.

His focus: to capture the reality of his life’s story without compromise. To respect the seriousness of the subject with a serious production.

Had Jay-Z been in real estate, he probably would have strapped on a wheelcam and told his story while dodging traffic. Then he’d splatter the finished product across social media because, see, that’s how real estate keeps it real.

Jay-Z had a different definition of real. Even after making it to the top, he recognized that he needed help to tell his story in the way he wanted it told. The acclaimed Mark Romanek directed 99 Problems, spent weeks filming it and four separate, painstaking sessions editing it.

Some in real estate are with Jay-Z on this. Many are not.

Hearts and minds

This report from Burst Media finds that more than 70% of adult Web users access video content – movies, TV shows, music videos and advertising.

More and more brands are coming to understand that video is a powerful implement of marketing that appeals to both the head and the heart.

Real estate can do this too.

99 Problems but video ain’t one.

A few weeks ago I received this via email.

While on the hunt of trying to buy a home in New Jersey, we found the Houlihan Lawrence videos of Westchester, NY. Mind you we had zero plans of moving anywhere north of NYC. We watched the first video (NYC’s Backyard). Then another… and another… and another. 45 minutes later and we’re still on HL’s website. My wife is now talking about moving to Mamaroneck. WTF!

1000WATT Consulting created the video treatments and spent months producing, shooting and editing.

Some told us the finished product was too slick, too Hollywood and more than a brokerage needed. But we watched our client reap rewards of views, leads, and brand affinity.

Good video can produce bone chilling, nerve tingling, emotional connections.

Bad video can demean your brand, your story and your work.

That’s a truth a kid from the streets of Brooklyn and a company nestled in the leafy comfort of Westchester County both understand.


*Thanks to Christian Sterner from WellcomeMat for turning me on to the making of video and sharing our passion for making great real estate video.