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#StraightOutta - Giving 2015 the #NWA Treatment

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Straight Outta Compton, the game-changing first album from N.W.A. came out in 1988. It laid down the foundation for the next 15-some years of hip-hop and gangsta rap, aggravated a lot of old white politicians, frightened parents and gave the world its first proper introduction to MC Ren. Since then hip-hop has grown into a cultural phenomenon unrivalled, making and breaking the careers of thousands of aspiring musicians, label owners, dancers and graffiti artists. It's not a niche any more, it rules the world.

A sizeable contingent of Instagram's target demographic are far too young to remember any of that. They might know Dre, but probably more as a pair of overpriced earbuds than a legendary West Coast producer/rapper. To them, hip-hop and rap are foregone conclusions, they are a massive, unstoppable force in pop culture. With that in mind, how do you get them interested in the new N.W.A. biopic? Well, obviously, you engage with them in a language they understand: hashtags. And funny pictures.
Picture editing tools on social media are a dangerous game for promoters. If done from the wrong angle, it can turn into a co-ordinated attack by users against the company in question, using their own weapons against them. Think back to that Woolworths debacle in Australia, for instance. In this case, it's been handled beautifully, since it not only accepts, but encourages parody.
A photo posted by Joe Hill (@bannapelinewokxz) on
The meme generator, called 'Straight Outta Somewhere', manipulates any picture to resemble the poster for the movie, adding the parental advisory warning-style title and the colours changed to high contrast black and white. Instead of 'Compton' at the bottom though, you can write whatever you want (but no swears).
A photo posted by Justin Starks (@boogey216) on
In this way, the tone is your plaything. If you're particularly proud of your own geographical roots, you can create a heartfelt send-up to that fact, if you've run out of blu-tack, you have an artful way to express your annoyance and if you have a particular news item or intellectual property you think would effectively gel with old school hip-hop, go nuts.
A photo posted by David Saul (@bettysaul) on
Advertising is running to catch up with modern social media, but interactive campaigns are some of the most successful in recent memory. Audiences want to engage with media now, rather than just absorb it. Where it falls down is when the content seems to be encouraging consumers to do a specific thing with it, rather than just whatever they deem most appropriate. This campaign does the latter, in such a way that even the most ridiculous parody still doesn't even come close to undercutting the intention of the thing.
A photo posted by SuzyMbk (@suzy.mbk) on
The effect it will have on the film's box office performance is difficult to determine at this stage, but it's only a fraction of a much larger promotional assault, including a brand new LP by Dre himself. The whole ethos behind hip-hop music is that it takes inspiration from past music and reworks it into something new, this kind of thing almost perfectly represents how deep that mindset runs.

Callum Davies

Callum is a film school graduate who is now making a name for himself as a journalist and content writer. His vices include flat whites and 90s hip-hop. Follow him @CallumAtSMF

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#StraightOutta - Giving 2015 the #NWA Treatment Reviewed by Callum Davies on Saturday, August 15, 2015 Rating: 5
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