In one of the biggest hip-hop soft-drink partnerships in recent memory, Lil Wayne and Mountain Dew are teaming up for a new campaign, dubbed DEWeezy, set to formally kick off at South by Southwest in Austin next week. Images of the campaign first started appearing on downtown New York City wallscapes earlier this week, and were later confirmed via a press release issued by Wayne's management firm The Blueprint Group Friday morning.
Created by Mountain Dew and Blueprint Group in partnership with the Glu Agency, managed by hip-hop business veteran Derek Jackson, the DEWeezy campaign will include advertisements, public appearances and the creation of a skate park in Lil Wayne's hometown of New Orleans. Blueprint's release also hints at a possible touring component, noting that the deal was "anchored in Lil Wayne's touring presence and outside interests including skateboarding and the rebuilding of New Orleans."
"We are excited to partner Lil Wayne's brand with a brand like Mountain Dew, a household name," Cortez Bryant, co-CEO of Blueprint Group said in a statement. "[B]y showing interest in Lil Wayne, both Mountain Dew and the Glu Agency showed us they were forward thinking and valued the impact that Lil Wayne's brand has had and will continue to have on global pop culture."
A Mountain Dew spokeswoman declined comment when reached by Billboard, noting that the brand will discuss the program further at SXSW.
The Lil Wayne pairing is an interesting footnote in the evolution of PepsiCo (Mountain Dew's parent company) and its history with hip-hop. In 2002, the company discontinued an ad campaign featuring then-upcoming rapper Ludacris after Fox News personality Bill O'Reilly called for a boycott over the rapper's lyrics. The company later tapped rap/pop group Black Eyed Peas in 2007 for a wide-ranging campaign, later teaming up with rappers like Busta Rhymes for a Pepsi Max Super Cowl commercial.
Mountain Dew, meanwhile, has been more directly involved with hip-hop and indie music via its Green Label Sound, partnering with groups like The Cool Kids and U-N-I and rapper Theophilus London for exclusive music releases. Another PepsiCo brand, Lipton Brisk, was aggressive in hip-hop marketing in 2011, enlisting Eminem for a Super Bowl commercial and sponsoring the rapper's Shady Records tour featuring Yelawolf and Slaughterhouse.