Most may view <strong>Nicki Minaj</strong> as just another rapper/singer/performer; but the multi-faceted entertainer is much more than that, she’s a bankable brand that’s only just begun to blossom. In a few short years, Nicki has influenced trends through her music and unmistakable fashion sense, and her involvement in cosmetics, television, hair and even the floral industry (Nicki has exclusive <a href="http://ww31.1800flowers.com/collection.do?dataset=11553&conversionTag=true" target="_blank"><strong>pink collection bouquets available on flowers.com</strong></a> for Valentine’s Day) has helped spike sales and visibility for a number of ancillary brands. Whether her detractors like it or not, Ms. Minaj is a one-woman marketing guru. <strong>BlackEnterprise.com</strong> takes a look at some of the brands the young starlet has—directly or indirectly—helped bolster by association. <em>—Andreas Hale (Images: Getty)</em>
<em><strong>SATURDAY NIGHT LIVE:</strong></em> Even the most skeptical doubter has to acknowledge Nicki’s star power following her presence on the<strong> </strong><a href="http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/jan-29-jesse-eisenberg/1279670/?__source=recent-eps-module" target="_blank"><strong>January 29th episode of <em>SNL</em></strong></a>, propelling the famed sketch comedy show to its <a href="http://www.theboombox.com/2011/01/31/nicki-minaj-snl-episode-scores-2nd-highest-ratings-of-season/" target="_blank"><strong>second highest rated episode</strong></a> of the season (second only to the Jan. 8 show hosted by comedian <strong>Jim Carey</strong>). As the week’s musical guest, she performed twice and showed her acting chops in a pair of sketches that helped deliver an average viewer rating of 3.2 with 18-49-year-olds in 25 markets. With a season featuring seasoned guests ranging from <strong>Kanye West</strong>, <strong>Eminem</strong> and <strong>Lil Wayne</strong> to <strong>Robert DeNiro</strong>, <strong>Scarlett Johansson</strong> and <strong>Anne Hathaway</strong>, we have to consider this a monumental feat. Sure, <strong>Facebook</strong> founder <strong>Mark Zuckerberg</strong> also made an appearance on the show, but chances are more people tuned in because they “liked” Nicki. <strong> </strong>
<strong></strong><strong>MAC LIPSTICK:</strong> Last November, Nicki launched a limited edition, cotton candy pink lipstick with <strong>MAC Cosmetics</strong> right around the release of her debut album, <strong><em>Pink Friday</em></strong>. The lipstick—named “Pink 4 Friday”—was only on the market for four Fridays but had fans chasing down the Minaj-cosigned lip color, <a href="http://www.examiner.com/urban-pop-culture-in-national/nicki-minaj-s-pink-friday-lipstick-sells-out-within-hours-of-its-release" target="_blank">selling out in a matter of hours</a> on the day of its release. MAC’s parent company, <strong>Estee Lauder</strong>, just so happened to see its fiscal second quarter earnings rise at a <a href="http://online.wsj.com/article/BT-CO-20110203-714342.html" target="_blank"><strong>better-than-expected clip of 34%</strong></a> as a direct benefit of “strong holiday sales.” Darling Nicki may have had a hand (and a pouty mouth) in that increase.
<strong>BARBIE:</strong> Often referring to herself as the “Harajuku Barbie” and her legion of fans as “Barbies” and “Kens,” Nicki has become an unofficial spokeswoman for the long-running doll line. Last year <strong>Mattel</strong> saw a <a href="http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20110202/ap_on_bi_ge/us_earns_mattel" target="_blank"><strong>9% increase in fourth quarter sales</strong></a>, which were propelled by a strong showing by <strong>Barbie dolls</strong>. In fact, Barbie revenue saw an 8% increase by itself. While there are no stats to show how much of a direct impact Nicki’s continual mentioning of the popular brand had on those figures, the free promo definitely didn’t hurt (and we bet a Nicki Minaj doll of some sort is probably in the works).
<strong>WIG BUSINESS: </strong><strong></strong> In addition to her music and unique fashion sense, Nicki Minaj is also known for her assortment of Japanese anime-inspired wigs, most notably ones with colorful tresses cut in a bang that have found their way on to the heads of many young ladies. A Google search for the term “Nicki Minaj wigs” will pull up multiple websites selling hairpieces inspired by the rap star. Atlanta wig retailer <strong>Hair Fiction</strong>—who is among the first to design a Nicki Minaj wig—says that the headpiece launched last June and has been their monthly top seller ever since. According to market research by <a href="http://atlantapost.com/2010/08/20/10-african-american-entrepreneurs-in-the-black-hair-product-business/" target="_blank"><strong>Mintel</strong></a>, the Black hair business generated over $165 million in 2008 and with her pink wig in tow Nicki continues to <a href="http://www.dailymotion.com/video/xgcyld_kanye-west-monster-official-video_webcam" target="_blank"><strong>think big, get cash and make them blink fast</strong></a>.
<strong></strong><strong></strong><strong></strong><strong>ALBUM SALES:</strong> In a day and age where albums are selling a mere fraction of what they were a decade ago, Nicki Minaj’s <em>Pink Friday</em> managed to sell a remarkable 375,000 copies in its first week of release. Despite being released the same day as proven star and multi-platinum seller <strong>Kanye West</strong> (who had a 496k showing in his debut week), she still secured the second highest opening week sales ever for a female rapper, behind <strong>Lauryn Hill</strong> and her Grammy-winning 1998 release, <a href="http://www.billboard.com/news/kanye-west-nicki-minaj-score-big-debuts-1004132784.story#/news/kanye-west-nicki-minaj-score-big-debuts-1004132784.story" target="_blank"><em><strong>The Miseducation Of Lauryn Hill</strong></em></a>. It was also the first time in two years that the <strong><em>Billboard</em></strong> 200 saw two albums bow out with more than 300k units sold. Even more impressive, Nicki is currently outpacing West in weekly sales and recently <a href="http://hiphopwired.com/2011/02/09/nicki-minaj-finally-tops-billboard-charts/ " target="_blank"><strong>broke the one million mark</strong></a> making her the first female rapper to have a No. 1 album in the U.S. since <strong>Eve</strong>’s <em>Let There Be Eve… Ruff Ryders First Lady</em> back in 1999. More than anything, Nicki’s numbers show that she can influence other brands while still maintaining her own as a viable commodity.
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