So much publicity about declining TV viewership, falling Internet ad sales, difficulty reaching the increasingly mobile yet inattentive demographic. Depressing thoughts all. Enough to drive a tagger to the spray paint – and not in the way you might think. Yet, time and again we discover that creativity, tenacity and the courage to follow the passion, find bridges where otherwise there are chasms.
If you’ve been paying attention you know about Marc Ecko – actually you don’t even have to be paying much attention. Here’s a guy who has muddled and jumbled his way into a billion dollar, multi-faceted business. Ecko once described himself as being too white to rap and too fat to break dance. Don’t we love people with a sense of humor? Now he’s rumored to be the biggest name in urban clothing – beating out all the people who rap and dance for a living.
A few years ago, Ecko famously got 114 million video views – what wouldn’t we do for that kind of popularity. His video featured him tagging Air Force One – yes, the President’s plane. Taking some rather creative liberties with his pharmacy degree, he rented a plane and faked tagging for the video.“If you’re operating from the comfort zone, you’re in the wrong business,” Ecko says.
And we believe him because he is a gutsy, innovative guy who drives business in seemingly quirky ways. He defends taggers, literally. He gives back. He’s behind a video game featuring a graffiti-writing character. His expanding empire includes everything from a magazine to a Spike Lee film, to EckoTV and a hot fashion line. Somewhere we think there might even be a kitchen sink.
So as the “Rhino” label grows, we’re paying attention. We’re thinking business isn’t dead. It’s just a different game from the one we learned in college. Or the one we knew two years ago. We could wait and see if tomorrow comes to us or we could go out and fetch it. We like fetch better. Our dogs like fetching too.
And in view of baseball season starting – Ecko was the guy who spent $750,000 for Barry Bonds’ 756 homerun record baseball. He then got 10 million people to vote on its fate, which also landed him free publicity.