The Emerging Culture Composite Index Edition 2

Love and Hip Hop - An Intermedia Juggernaut

Last week I introduced you to the Emerging Culture Composite Index. It’s my look at the people and things that are attracting attenti0n, and more importantly engagement, in our culture. Some of these items you’ll already know about, but others may be new to you.

The Index itself continues to evolve, and hopefully I’ll be switching to an email subscription format, so if you’d like to receive this directly in the future, please send me an email:

Here are this week’s items of note:

Where’s My Water?: Disney’s first-ever original character for a mobile game continues its strong showing on both Android and iPhone app charts. Read this TechCrunch story on the marketing of this franchise. Rovio (maker of Angry Birds) has some competition.

TraphikMusician, YouTube star, Traphik – aka Timothy DeLaGhetto – is what a 21st Century media star looks like. Check out this unique collab with Tweak footwear via Facebook.

Jared Harris: You know him as Lane Pryce from Mad Men, or his recurring role on Fringe, or as Professor Moriarty in the latest Sherlock Holmes film. He’ll also be playing Ulysses S. Grant in the upcoming Spielberg blockbuster, Lincoln.

Love and Hip Hop: Sure, it’s a Real Housewives knock-off, but it’s generating conversations online. Check out a preview of Episode 9, Season 2 here, and see what everyone is tweeting about.

Van Halen: A re-united Van Halen (Goodbye Sammy, hello DLR!) played a local New York club and a host of videos made there way online. Expect a VH revival with tours and TV appearances this year.

Elder Scrolls: Skyrim: This fantasy title has broken through the military game hegemony established by CoD:MW3 and Battlefield 3. The title recorded sales of more than US$600 million in its first month. This title is a great example of the depth of story development and world building now prevalent in game design.

Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters: This one has it all – building on current fairy tale trend (See ABC’s Once Upon A Time); literary parody a la Pride, Prejudice & Zombies; and a rising star in Jeremy Renner.

Zachary Quinto: In between stints as Spock in the Star Trek franchise reboot, Quinto takes challenging roles on buzz-worthy shows like American Horror Story.

Walk off the Earth: A widely shared online video begs the question, “Will they be the next OK! Go”? A different sound, but further proof YouTube is today’s MTV.

Habibi:  A hit with consumers despite its length (672-pages) and complex themes (religion, culture and love). This graphic novel is another example of quality winning out. This well-reviewed tome has earned its place alongside Maus, Persepolis and Waltz with Bashir as non-traditional representations of socially charged subject matter.

Inside the Index: Love and Hip Hop – Season 2

Consistently ranks among the most socially engaging shows on television, beating every show on CBS, ABC and NBC (except Fear Factor). There are six Love and Hip Hop cast members with more than 100,000 Twitter followers. This intermedia-driven strategy is a blueprint for what all television, not just reality programming, will soon look like, and the strategy does seem to be translating to traditional success metrics as well. L&HH2 consistently ranks among the top cable shows on its night amongst the 18-49 demo.


This week’s sources:

•Hollywood Stock Exchange
•NY Times
•Television by the Numbers
•Android Market


Introducing the Emerging Culture Composite Index

In my role as Creative Culturalist at Y&R, I constantly looking around to see what is resonating in culture. Who are the content creators and what is the content that people are drawn to.  But I didn’t want to just look at topline data such at Nielsen ratings, box office numbers or traditional best seller lists. I wanted to try and find data points that speak to more than just passive consumption, but rather illuminate a more engaged participation.

Enter the Emerging Culture Composite Index.  With this weekly list I used more than a dozen sources, including: Hulu, TV by the Numbers, SocialGuide, Hollywood Stock Exchange, YouTube, Android and iPhone app lists and Raptr. My goal here was to find indications of where people were taking actions to show interest, whether that be via social media, game play or buying virtual shares of stock in movies. It’s from this sort of behavior that we can identify the level of fan interest in a property/brand.

Suffice it to say, this is not an exact science. In looking at roughly 150 different brands, I whittle it down to 10 based on my best educated guesses and some gut instincts. Over time perhaps it will become more scientific, but right now it’s mostly theory. I do however expect to be able to make some more educated assessments over time, and deliver some thought-provoking insights based on the cultural trends I see.

So, here’s the premier edition of the ECCI for your viewing pleasure:


DJ BL3ND: Consistently topping the Billboard “Uncharted” chart, this L.A. DJ has an avid fanbase who have viewed his YouTube music mixes more than 150 million times.


Love and Hip Hop: The VH1 reality series drew record ratings for its 2nd season premier as well as generating online buzz.


Cloud Atlas: Star-studded cast led by Tom Hanks and directed Andy Wachowski (Matrix). Based on the award-winning 2004 novel, this will be this summer’s “thinking man’s” blockbuster.


Where’s My Water?: This mobile app hit features Disney’s first-ever original character for a mobile game. The popularity  of the game has led to a web series this year.


Cut The Rope: Another casual game for mobile devices, still consistently among the top downloads on both Android and iPhone. The property has branched out to a comic as well.


Dark Shadows: Can the cult TV hit ride the current vampire wave? With Tim Burton and Johnny Depp involved, this could be a summer hit. Hollywood Stock Exchange rates it a buy.


Vin Diesel: The probable 2012 revival of two vehicles – XXX 3 and Riddick 2 – and other upcoming roles could turbo charge Diesel’s career.


Daniel Tosh: His Comedy Central show Tosh.0 often pulls more viewers than John Stewart or Stephen Colbert. His highly social audience includes more than 4 million Twitter fans.


Naruto Shippuden: This Japanese anime import has a cult following on Hulu. The show also airs on Disney XD.


Angry Birds: Has this cultural juggernaut finally jumped the shark? Not yet. It’s still top of the download charts and there’s a movie in the works as well.


Inside the Chart:

Daniel Tosh is the quintessential 21st century comedian. While he still performs stand up gigs, and has a TV show on Comedy Central, he’s built an audience via Social Media. With nearly 7 million fans on Facebook and another 4 million on Twitter, Tosh is plugged into a young, engaged audience.

He seamlessly integrates online culture in his show and has a keen understanding of what works for a Millennial Generation audience. His “envelope pushing” material doesn’t work for everyone, but for brands looking to engage a young audience he provides an intriguing opportunity.

But if you want to get with The Tosh, you better hurry, he plans on retiring on his 38th birthday in May of 2013, and has a countdown clock on his website to prove it!

If you’d like to receive the ECCI weekly before it gets published here, send me an email: